An Ottawa entrepreneur is starting a clothing line specifically designed for people who use wheelchairs. He says he wants to combine fashion with accessibility.
Travis Iverson, 31, broke his neck in a diving accident about ten years ago and said he quickly became frustrated when trying to find the right clothes.
“I thought, ‘I'm sick and tired of going into stores and seeing clothes I want to wear… come back home, try them on and they just don't fit," he said.
Iverson said he and a seamstress living next door to him started making prototypes by altering store-bought items of clothing.
Shirts and jackets got large pieces of material added to the sides to increase comfort, while a single, soft piece of fabric replaced the seat of pants to reduce pressure sores.
"We want to get away from having the pockets and the seams because that extra material can cause skin breakdown," Iverson said.
'Big gap in terms of fashionable clothing'
Business and marketing professors at Ottawa’s Algonquin College said Iverson’s idea could lead to a successful business.
Patti Church works in the school’s applied research and innovation department and said Iverson’s clothing line would be a fit for men with disabilities between the ages of 25 and 40.
"The number of people in wheelchairs is growing as an overall trend,” she said.
“We found there was just a big gap in terms of fashionable clothing overall, especially in North America."
Iverson said his goal is to eventually sell his creations online — after he comes up with a name for his clothing line.