B.C. company to show off fashionable prosthetic covers at Rio
Published Wednesday, August 3, 2016 10:38PM EDT
A small B.C. company is looking to change the way amputees are seen, and will be showing off their creations on the world stage at Rio this summer.
Victoria-based Alleles design studio creates fashionable prosthetic covers that allow amputees to express their own style.
The covers are made of a polymer plastic and clip around the prosthesis.
"What we want to do is blur the lines between prosthetics and clothing," said Ryan Palibroda, a co-founder who handles the technical designs, told CTV News.
The company emphasizes this through their online advertising campaign, which features videos of amputees describing how the covers change the way they view themselves.
Co-founder McCauley Wanner says people tend to buy several of the covers in order to use them with different outfits or for different events.
"We just want people to forget about them while they are wearing them," said Palibroda.
Ready-to-wear designs cost between $350 and $475, while custom covers start at $975.
Amputees say the covers add a sense of normalcy to their lives and change the way people view them in day-to-day life.
"Children come up, they don't ask your limitations, they ask about what special powers you have," said Sam Paulos.
Paulos lost his leg to an infection five years ago and now has three covers for his prosthetic.
"People would often come up before and say, ‘Oh I am really sorry, how did you lose your leg?' and more often than not they will look at me and say, 'Wow,' that looks really neat and interesting. Tell me about it," he said.
Several Paralympians, including Germany's Vanessa Low, have the covers and will be wearing them when they head to Rio later this summer.
Alleles' founders say the next goal is to branch into designing clothing to match the prosthetic covers they make.
With a report by CTV’s medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip