Not all accessories are created equal. Some are meant to catch people's attention, while others are simply sentimental. But this online accessories shop is a bit different. PATTI + RICKY curates stylish and functional accessories and jewelry for people with disabilities. The line of fidget rings, hearing aid ear cuffs, and braille printed jewelry helps people embrace their disability identities — and look great at the same time.
PATTI + RICKY was named after two friends of founder Alexandra Connell, who she says spread love, understanding, and acceptance everywhere they went. That's exactly what the shop does, too. The site is not for your "typical" accessories, instead bringing stylish inclusion to the forefront of conversation.
"Shopping does not typically include or embrace difference and individuals with disabilities," it says on the website. "PATTI + RICKY changes this with an inclusive shopping experience for all."
Although 12.6% of the U.S. population is estimated to live with a disability, according to the shop, there aren't many brands that cater to their needs. This line has something for those with physical and emotional disabilities, no matter what stage of your life they're in.
“After my mom, Patti, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, she needed a cane to help her walk. A fashionable and fun woman, she wanted a leopard printed cane," Connell tells Bustle. "The cane meant a lot to my mom, not only because it was her vehicle, but also a stylish talking piece that made her feel beautiful."
Canes — just like the one that Connell's mother requested — are now available on the website. It's just the beginning of the items, too. There's also crutch and walker accessories and wheelchair bags.
"Through her, I learned that fashion has the power to support individualized needs, while giving people the opportunity to express themselves and feel great," says Connell. "My cousin Ricky was unable to walk or verbally communicate, yet he showed me that communicating through our eyes and facial expressions can be just as effective. Together, Patti and Ricky formed the inclusive lens through which I see the world."
The curated shop is changing the way others see the world, too. Although the fashion world is pushing to become more inclusive, there aren't many shops that fuse fashion and function quite like PATTI + RICKY.
The website is a one-stop shop for all types of assistive accessories and jewelry. The best part is that every single item is extremely wearable and even fashionable, which is rare in the "sterile" assistive device scene. These items are meant to be seen, worn, and embraced by those wearing them.
Remember the fidget spinner? Well, this brand is one-upping that with fidget jewelry. Each piece has a move-able part to it, so that you can play with it while you wear it. The idea is to help relieve stress and anxiety no matter where you are.
The fidget jewelry ranges from $21 to $45, which is the most affordable items on the website. Other jewelry includes necklaces and bracelets with braille on it and belt bags that can be strapped right around your waist.
Each item proves that you don't need to sacrifice style or self expression to fulfill certain needs in your life. This is the power of inclusive fashion.