I designed a winter coat suitable for women and men with prosthetic arm(s). It started with reading the story of designer Shaun King, owner, and founder of his minimalist, lightweight boots and shoes company, Lems. King started his visionary company after his challenging experience with changing shoes with his prosthetic foot. When he was first learning to walk with his bionic foot he wore lightweight tennis shoes weighing 9 ounces each. Even learning to walk in lightweight shoes was difficult because a prosthetic foot lays flat and does not articulate in angles like a real foot. It took him weeks to get used to walking and walking normally. King always wore boots and wanted to start wearing them again once he began walking better. When he tried them on for the first time there was more than just one problem- the shape of the boot was too narrow and the weight of the boot, once he finally found one wide enough, completely threw him off balance. He needed to learn how to walk all over again to get used to the weight and said it was difficult to maneuver in such heavy footwear. The same concept applies to heavy-weight coats worn in the winter for people with prosthetic arms. My design features a lightweight winter coat constructed of a material derived from mushrooms called muskin. Muskin is made only of bacterial mushrooms that deplete the environment around it. Removing poisonous mushrooms that kill trees and other foliage does not harm the environment, in fact, quite the opposite. Muskin is fashionable and extremely lightweight. Not only is it lightweight, but it also delivers nearly the same thermal properties as leather and is water repellent. It can be worn in the rain or snow and keep you warm. The coat I’ve designed is a luxurious yet subtle winter coat made of one hundred percent muskin on the body and faux fur on the cuffs, center front seams, hem, and neckline with a hood so the coat is glamorous yet nonrestrictive on the arms. Muskin coats are sustainable and beneficial to people with prosthetics, though I believe these coats would be a true fashion statement worn by anyone- male, female, and all preferred pronouns.
What was your experience like working on this project?
Working on this project was a beautiful challenge. Information on prosthetics in daily life use is scarce and that was probably the biggest challenge I came across. I wanted to configure something original and helpful. Through my research preparing for this project, I learned a great deal of things about our fellow earthlings and new innovative materials that I may not have learned otherwise. The opportunity to contrive something new and helpful was exciting and is what fueled my motivation. From the research to the trend board, through the final steps, I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated this project.