Weddings

One-of-a-kind wedding gowns for brides in wheelchairs

By: Tanya Debi

Photography by: Chris Chapman Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by: Chris Chapman

Weddings

One-of-a-kind wedding gowns for brides in wheelchairs

By: Tanya Debi
Izzy Camilleri is the founder of IZ Adaptive, a revolutionary clothing line for those in the seated frame. IZ Adaptive has everything from jackets to pants, and from suits to its Juliet Wedding Gown. We spoke to Camilleri about the inspiration for her designs, and, specifically, about this unique wedding gown, designed for brides in wheelchairs.

Canadian Living: What inspired you to create the Juliet Wedding Gown?
Izzy Camilleri:
 I was mostly inspired by brides who are in a seated frame, who are about to get married. Options are so incredibly limited for those in the seated frame, so I wanted to do this for them. They are my inspiration.

Canadian Living: What did you have to consider when making the dress?
Izzy Camilleri:
I had to consider a lot when making this dress. Conventional clothing is designed for a standing frame and when you sit down, everything gets muffled up. While designing for a seated frame, we start from a seated lens, so it is nice and clean.

People tend to also get a little thicker around the waistline because of sitting and organs settling, so the dress's empire waist gives that ease around the waist and tummy. The dress also has an elasticated back that allows for flexibility, because if you are ordering this online, you want it to fit you when you get it or have it easily altered. The elastic is also helpful because people carry measurements in different places. Sometimes people can have a small bust and a big back, or they could have a bigger bust and a tiny ribcage. So having that flexibility makes for an easier fit.

Canadian Living: What are some of the features of the Juliet Wedding Gown?
Izzy Camilleri:
We consider the fabric that is surrounding the bride, because we don't want it to get caught in any wheels. The material is a synthetic, because it is more practical and easy to care for and it helps make it affordable. The dress is lined and the zipper is on the side for better accessibility. It also comes with an attractive lace shrug, which you can leave on or take off for two different, but beautiful, looks.

The hardest part for me was narrowing it down and trying to make the dress clean and simple, but pretty at the same time. It was hard trying to make something that would have broader appeal, rather than trying to put a lot of bells and whistles on it, because that would start to limit its usage, but I am happy with the whole thing.

One-of-a-kind wedding gowns for brides in wheelchairs - Juliet Wedding Gown
Photo courtesy of Izzy Camilleri

Canadian Living: If someone wanted to design a dress like this one, what tips would you give?
Izzy Camilleri:
You need to be really skilled in pattern drafting to execute this and I think that is why there aren't a lot of dresses like this available, because you have to understand the limitations people have when they are sitting. People with a spinal cord injury, for example, have issues with pressure sores and therefore the dress seams are really important. For someone who has broken their back, their body is going to change and their size is going to change, the longer they are using their wheelchair. You need to have that kind of groundwork or that kind of education because you can really harm someone by not having all the information as a starting point.

Canadian Living: Can you customize wedding dresses for those in a seated frame?
Izzy Camilleri:
The odd times we can custom design a wedding dress. Once, we had a customer who had previously purchased a wedding dress and then had it adapted, but she ended up making a mess out of it, so we came in and saved it. Some people think that alterations don't take long, but that is not true; it can be very difficult because you are working within the fabric and the seams that are already there, so you are limited as to what you can do.

Canadian Living: Do you plan on expanding the IZ Adaptive wedding line?
Izzy Camilleri:
We are planning on creating more dresses that you can wear to formal occasions or wear to a wedding. We do plan on designing a couple more wedding gowns in the future, I'm just not sure when, but it is definitely on the to-do list.

IZ Adaptive is based in Toronto, Canada and ships worldwide, check out the rest of the designs in the IZ Adaptive line.

Wondering what to do with your beautiful gown after the wedding? Check out these tips on what to do with your wedding dress after the big day.

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Weddings

One-of-a-kind wedding gowns for brides in wheelchairs

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