Wednesday 28th August

| BY Helena Fletcher

Barbie and Izzy Wheels Release Four Designs of Wheelchair Covers, As Imagined by Emerging Creatives

This year, believe it or not, Barbie is celebrating her 60th birthday. In that honour, throughout 2019 Mattel has been releasing dolls championing diversity and celebrating inspiring women across the globe including the filmmaker Lisa Azuelos, NASA Scientist Eleni Antoniadou and models Ashley Graham and Adwoa Aboah. Continuing to promote diversity and self-expression through style, Barbie’s Fashionistas line evolved to include dolls with physical disabilities and has just announced a collaboration with a sister-run Dublin-based brand Izzy Wheels to create a capsule collection of limited edition wheelchair covers – all inspired by Barbie’s big birthday.

Available in four different designs created by graphic artists Malika Favre, Hattie Stewart and Annu Kilpeläinen, as well as by fashion designers Eden Loweth and Tom Barratt of Art School. Barrat and Eden have put their ultra-gram opulent spin on their wheels, inspired by their signature accessories they created a jewellery-like print which includes scans of crystal pieces taken from the Swarovski archive. When spinning, it forms dazzling kaleidoscopic patterns. “We wanted to investigate the act of playing with Barbies as a child and how this can translate into a feeling,” the duo explains. “As the wheel spins, we considered how the design could look like an ever-changing patter nation when moving so it remains engaging for the owner and beholder.”

The award-winning French illustrator and graphic artist Malika Favre’s colourful design was inspired by her own childhood fascination with Barbie’s sophistication and glamour. Whilst the House of Holland and Marc Jacobs collaborator, London-based artist and illustrator Hattie Stewart’s design is “all about Girl Power”. Finally, Finnish-born, UK-based illustrator Annu Kilpeläinen chose to celebrate a girl’s unlimited potential in a splendidly saturated colour palette. “I was inspired by the idea of the power of play and how Barbie can be anything,” says Kilpeläinen.

“Izzy Wheels empower wheelchair users to make a statement about themselves, it makes a person’s wheelchair into a friendly object rather than something purely functional. Having stylish wheels on your chair that match your outfit or show off your interests immediately addresses the chair and opens conversation,” explains Izzy Keane, co-founder of the brand. “Having a Barbie in a wheelchair meant so much to be as a little girl, and I love that a whole new generation of kids with disabilities can play with a Barbie that represents them,” she continues. “Fashion and fun are at the heart of what we do, and we’re thrilled to work with talented designers to pay homage to Barbie in her 60th year and celebrate dolls with even more diversity,” adds co-founder and sister Alibhe Keane. The waterproof wheelchair covers come in sizes for any manual wheelchair for adults or children from izzywheels.com, and also on a miniature-scale with the special edition Barbie with Wheelchair doll, available to buy from Selfridges and leading toy stores.

The Barbie x Izzie Wheels wheelchair covers are available to buy online

izzywheels.com // barbie.com