Wheelchair jean designers, new & oldMar 14 08:37
Out of everything I've tried to wear in my wheelchair, jeans have always been one of the most disappointing things I've put on. They just never look right. Bulky, awkward, unflattering - jeans rarely look good when you're sitting. No joke, I stopped wearing jeans altogether until skinny jeans and jeggings came out.
But there are dozens of companies making wheelchair jeans. It sounds kind of silly, "wheelchair jeans," "Yes, I'm going to buy a pair of wheelchair jeans," but jeans tailored for people sitting exists. Here are the 10 big wheelchair jeans brands to know.
ABL Denim: There's someone new on the wheelchair jean scene, trying to make her store a reality. The line is called ABL Denim and they're debuting their jeans this weekend at the Abilities Expo in L.A. The designer, Stephanie Alves, has worked in a mainstream fashion for many years and is moving her work into the adaptive fashion world. She has a Kickstarter campaign going on to get her line up and running.
What I love about her jeans is that she's also making them for kids (as well as men and women). No other company is doing this right now. They even have a cell phone pocket on the leg; a unique feature not offered on other adaptive jeans. She has 21 days left to reach her $15,000 goal. Watch this great video showcasing her jeans (and to support her campaign)
USA Jeans: One of the first companies to make jeans for wheelchair users is USA Jeans. Since 1995 they've been making their custom "sitting pants." To date they sold over 30,000 pairs. I've never tried a pair of these myself, but I've heard they're a damn good pair of jeans. Their pants are designed so they don't bunch up in the front, pull tight in the crotch or fall down the back. They're not the most feminine jeans, but they seem great for the guys. USA jeans cost around $85.00 a pair. View them
Rollin Wear: This relatively new company offers two different types of jeans for male wheelchair users - dark rinsed and medium washed. And their jeans feature flat seams to prevent pressure points, sturdy belt loops to make dressing easier, an adaptive zipper pull and a 1% stretch to the material. Very stylish, their jeans cost $89.00 a pair. View them
Rollitex Wheelchair Jeans: From the UK and distributed by Disabledgear.com, Rollitex makes jeans for both men and women and are really popular. They have dozens of cool adapted features like no back pockets, a longer zipper to make catheterizing easier and these are cute too (I love that the come in a variety of colors). Rollitex jeans run around 75 pounds a pair.
Ag Apparel: This adaptive clothing company makes clothing for women in wheelchairs.They're based in the US and they sell one version of wheelchair jeans. It's for the ladies and features an extra 2 inches in the crotch and 2 inches at the back for added comfort and ease. These jeans are definitely wide-leg style, and sell for $74.99/pair. Check 'em out
Rolli Moden: This adaptive clothing company is based in Germany and has been selling their clothes for years. They sell jeans for women and men and they run around 99 euros a pair. But oh my are these are some beautiful jeans. And their jeans have some stand-out features, like a hook hidden under the false button to make it easier for those with limited hand movement to fasten. Check them out
IZ Adaptive: Based in Canada, IZ is an adapted clothing company making all sorts of beautiful things, and they make jeans for men and women that run around $89.00 a pair. What I love about this company is that for the ladies, they also make skinny jeans and capri jeans for women in wheelchairs. Really high-end stuff. Izzy Camilleri has also designed gowns for celebs. The jeans
WheelieChix-Chic: Also from the UK, this high style wheelchair clothing designer for women sells two pairs of adaptive jeans, including the Elle Jean - a really sexy skinny jean in a dark rinse. Their adaptive jeans are at the height of style, and are cheaper than most other adaptive jeans. The Elle Jeans only cost $13.19.
Endless Ability: Out of California, Endless Ability is a new wheelchair jeans company and they sell the Ability Jean, made for men with spinal cord injuries. It comes in both a dark rinse and medium rinse and if you want style, these jeans have it (and will definitely make the younger dudes happy). I love how they have a little bit of wear and tear. They're $97.00 a pair, but they feature all the adaptive elements you need, and even feature a a catheter leg zipper that goes all the way through to the body, so nobody knows it's a cath zip. Smart! Check them out
Rolling Elephants: And in rural Germany, a unique wheelchair jean company called Rolling Elephants is selling adaptive jeans too. I blogged about them a couple years ago, and I'm so happy to see they're still around. Their jeans have something none of the other above jeans do - hand painted designs. Urban, a bit edgy, replete with handy zippers and pockets all over them (and in the front where you need them), these jeans rock. And not surprisingly, they're also the most expensive on this list, at 149 pounds a pair. Check them out
It's really too bad specialized jeans cost so much. Specialized adaptations cost extra, especially when you get as detailed and percise as this. But if you have the cash, any of these high-quality jeans are worth every penny. And that's the honest truth.
What wheelchair jeans have you tried?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.