Prosthetic limbs function as a mode of rehabilitation and in some cases assimilation into regular societal circumstances for amputees, in recent years fashion within the prosthesis industry has boomed with more and more high fashion and customizable items available for the consumer. With functionality and practicality being of the utmost importance within the industry, artistic design and expression until recently has been set aside.
Prosthetic ‘wearable art’ and ‘alternative’ limbs are just a couple of phrases being thrown about to describe a new success within the fashion industry. Sophie de Oliveira Barata’s ‘Alternative
Limb Project’ has been a great accomplishment within the prosthesis industry with more and more personalized and unique limbs being crafted for amputees. The former special effects prosthetist works alongside artists and designers as well as craftsmen of many varieties in order to create unique and wearable limbs.
Barata states, “Generally the whole technology is moving towards trying to recapture a lifelike limb that looks realistic and also acts realistic in motion. In this instance I’m doing the complete opposite and I think it does capture that whole childlike imagination — it’s like being a superhero with super powers.”
“It’s drawing attention to their disability in a positive way…Rather than people seeing what’s missing, it’s about what they’ve got…Having an alternative limb is about claiming control and saying ‘I’m an individual and this reflects who I am.'”
But Barata is not alone; as the industry grows more prosthetists are turning to artists and designers for their input in the generation of both unique and highly lifelike high fashion prosthetic limbs. McCauley Wanner and Ryan Palibroda alongside Alleles Design Studio continue to contribute to the recently highlighted industry with high fashion, ready-to-wear and custom made prosthetic limb collections released annually.
The prosthesis industry are reaching new heights with the high fashion, unique and highly customized limbs readily accessible through the internet and ready-to-order sites. This exciting development within the fashion industry has meant that amputees may now have access to high-fashion and customizable prosthetics across the globe.
To check out a couple of the sites spoken about, see the links below:
- Alleles Design Studio 2014, Alleles FAQS, accessed 24 August 2015, http://www.alleles.ca/
- Alternative Limb Project 2014, About Alternative Limb Project, About Sophie, accessed 24 August 2015, http://www.thealternativelimbproject.com/about/the-alternative-limb-project/
- Beautiful/Decay 2015, Prosthetic Limbs as Art: Sophie de Oliveira Barata’s Alternative Limb Project, accessed 24 August 2015, http://beautifuldecay.com/2013/11/18/prosthetic-limbs-art-sophie-de-oliveira-baratas-alternative-limb-project/
- CBC Radio-Canada 2015, Prosthetic ‘wearable art’ line designed by Canadian pair, Aleksandra Sagan, accessed 24 August 2015, http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/prosthetic-wearable-art-line-designed-by-canadian-pair-1.1861584