BREAKING NEWS: There’s A Gold Wheelchair On The Cover of Interview Magazine!

Posted on December 2, 2015

It only took 82 years, but Everest and Jennings, the designers of the first (and only) collapsable wheelchair, have finally managed to grace the cover of a prominent fashion magazine.

Interview Magazine features conversations between some of the most creative minds from the worlds of fashion, art and entertainment. This month’s cover features a beautiful gold Everest and Jennings wheelchair, ridden by an unidentifiable human like creature.

But this alien barbie is not the first to don such an artifact. Pornographer Larry Flynt is famous for his gold plated Everest and Jennings chair.

Larry Flint Gold Wheelchair

But please don’t let the seated persons distract you from the real story. The Everest and Jennings collapsable wheelchair is a feat of human engineering, designed in the 1930s using a new-at-the-time product called tubular steel. The most lauded purveyor of tubular steel was Marcel Breuer. And while he was the first (beating Everest and Jennings by 5 years) he was not the most formidable.

Marcel Breuer Chair

Marcel Breuer’s business can’t even begin to make a dent in the amount of Everest and Jennings chairs that have been sold. Let’s do a little math:

  • There are 3 Million Wheelchair Users in the United States alone.
  • The majority of these wheelchair users have owned the only portable wheelchair user ever designed.
  • And this has been going on for three generations.

So why has it taken 82 years for Everest and Jennings to land it’s first cover when Breuer has been featured in just about every design and fashion magazine since day one?

Marcel Breuer

Could it have something to do with how stigmatizing products are when made for people with disabilities?

Here’s the thing: Design at its core is really just problem solving. In the seasonal world of fashion, this is often forgotten, because fashion is evolution. Marcel Breuer chairs would not be noteworthy if they were the last chair ever designed.

This is the difference between design and disability design. When a problem is solved in disability, there is no evolution. Portable wheelchairs have not changed since the 1930s. And because of this they’re considered to be an eyesore. Wheelchairs are shocking and stigmatizing when viewed through the lens of fashion.

I believe wheelchairs need to find their way onto more magazine covers and onto more runways. That’s why I have teamed up with some of my inclusive designing peers to build the first fashion trade association for people with disabilities.The more often we can get disability featured, the greater impact The Inclusive Design & Fashion Collective will have.

We believe the way you feel about yourself and the day ahead is depends on whether you can dress yourself in something you love. We don’t care who is sitting in the wheelchair. We care about the beauty of the wheelchair.

Will you please consider donating to help the IDFC get off the ground? Your donation will be retroactively tax-deductible once the IDFC has been approved for tax deductible donations. We will be updating all donors as we grow and will notify you once you can declare your deductions. If you would like to know how you can get involved, please contact usatincludesigncollective@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you.

My name is Liz and I am a disability advocate. My focus is on the (very small) intersection of disability and fashion. If you are curious to learn more about inclusive fashion, check out this recent post titled Donna Karan’s Seven Easier Pieces. I would be ever so grateful for your support. I’m trying to change the world. And I’m asking the best of the fashion world to help.

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