Beauty and self-expression come in many forms available to all sorts of people. For example, consumers are able to change their look to match how they feel simply by changing what they wear. This cultural custom has spread to a new genre that was previously untouched: prosthetic limbs. Prosthetics
Aimee Mullins has paved the way for amputees to express themselves through their prosthetics. Aimee was born with fibular hemimelia and both of her lower legs were amputated when she was one year old. Since then, Aimee has been an inspiration to not only amputees, but to all those dealing with adversity. At age 36, she has participated in athletics, modeling and acting, and is currently a motivational speaker. She can even alter her height between 5’8” and 6’1.” Alexander McQueen designed a pair of legs made of solid ash wood for Aimee, which she modeled on the runway.
Aimee’s story is not a common one. Her success has come from her ability to oversee challenges and reach for her goals. A leg collection like Aimee’s may not be available to all amputees, but there are emerging designers and companies that are creating more beautiful and personalized prosthetics for any customer. Because a prosthetic is a part of an amputee’s body, the ability to personalize it may create a greater acceptance of the prosthetic by the wearer.
Another notable prosthetic designer is Aviya Serfaty, the designer of Outfeet, a transformable prosthetic aimed toward female users. Serfaty’s website says that “Outfeet allows the amputee to express and recreate herself according to her mood, special events or desirable look.” The prosthetic can transform from flat to having a short heel, an activewear cover or a black cover. Its design is more sleek and open than that of Bespoke Innovations, providing a distinct difference between the two.
With options like these, amputees have less of a reason to feel different. Companies like Bespoke Innovations and Outfeet are transforming prosthetics into a positive and fashionable experience. While accessories like necklaces and bracelets are predictable, a personalized prosthetic fairing is unique and stunning. Living as an amputee, as Aimee Mullins demonstrates, doesn’t have to be a disability.
By Kayna Hobbs, University of Minnesota