DENVER (CBS4) – National Disability Independence Day is a reminder of the simple tasks many able-bodied people take for granted, like getting dressed. A Denver woman with a love for fashion has set out to keep people with limited abilities free from limitations in what they can wear.
Alexandra Connell realized the need for functional clothing that’s also fashionable after her mother, Patti, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Patti asked Connell to find her a leopard print cane, a task that Connell said was far from easy.
“She was a really beautiful, fashionable woman. Many of the clothes we had for her 10 years ago looked very medical and gray. It didn’t make her feel beautiful,” said Connell.
This inspired her to create the clothing company Patti and Ricky. It’s named after Connell’s late mother and her cousin Ricky, who was born unable to walk or talk.
Patti and Ricky is an inclusive, online marketplace that features items like Velcro dress pants, magnetic shirts, cochlear implant ear cuffs and wheelchair-friendly jeans. Connell wore one of her own company’s fidget rings during her interview with CBS4’s Tori Mason to help ease her anxiety. Like most of the items at Patti and Ricky, the accessory’s support is hidden by style.
“You wouldn’t know by looking at it that it serves a purpose. It’s amazing what Velcro and magnetics and elastic can do for changing someone’s life,” said Connell. Her pieces look like the quality clothing you’d see in a department store, but hidden design details allow people of all abilities to have the independence of dressing themselves.
Patti and Ricky has curated clothing from over 65 designers, many of whom have disabilities or a loved one with disabilities. They have a better understanding the challenges hanging in many closets.
“This shirt was designed by a woman whose husband had Parkinson’s. Instead of buttoning up, it magnets up,” said Connell. Her website has several designs for people who don’t have the dexterity to button things themselves.
Connell says the company is always looking for design suggestions that would make getting dressed easier for her customers or their loved ones. Patti and Ricky is only available online, but Connell hopes to see people of all abilities trying items on with ease in-store in the future.
You can visit the online marketplace and leave design suggestions.