Heidi McKenzie planned a career in fashion, but changed direction after a car accident left her paraplegic. She turned lemons into lemonade and set out to design fashionable adaptable clothing for individuals with disabilities. McKenzie hopes that her Alter Ur Ego line “gives [people with disabilities] confidence and breaks down social barriers.”
Soon after her accident McKenzie realized finding clothing is a real challenge for people who use wheelchairs. She found most jeans don’t fit well when you’re sitting down since they cut into hips and drape towards the back, and are difficult to get on and off. Pockets are another problem since front and back pockets are useless if you’re seated. Additionally, jeans generally do not provide easy access if you use a catheter. She set out to find solutions.
McKenzie founded Alter Ur Ego business where she offers jeans with elastic waistbands, stretchy fabric, and hidden straps to pull for easy on and off. The jeans also provide a high rise in the back and a longer length, to fit properly and look nice when seated. Pockets on the front legs of the jeans are easy to access, and they feature a hidden yet accessible catheter opening as well. McKenzie says even people who don’t use a wheelchair have commented on the design, telling her, “‘I want some of those’ or… ‘I haven’t worn jeans in X amount of years because I can’t find one that will work for me.’”
Alter Ur Ego’s online store allows people anywhere to easily purchase the jeans. For McKenzie, it’s thrilling to see her dream of a career in fashion be realized in such a rewarding way. She loves helping people feel better about themselves with her practical yet fashionable jeans.
photo credits: alterurego.co