A little over 10 years ago, Alexandra Herold found it almost impossible to find fashionable clothes or accessories for people with disabilities or for those with illnesses.
It was a gap in the market that the Santa Fe resident discovered while trying to find clothes and accessories for her mother, who had been diagnosed with brain cancer.
Herold said most of the items available were often gray and appeared to come straight from a hospital or hospice.
This experience, and a childhood spent alongside her disabled cousin, prompted her to create the online adaptive fashion website, Patti + Ricky.
Named after her mother and cousin, Patti + Ricky aims to be a one-stop-shop for adaptive fashion, or fashion for adults and children with disabilities, chronic health conditions, the elderly and caregivers – and ever since. October, the company is now headquartered in Santa Fe.
When keeping the items sold on the website, Herold said it was just as important that the items were useful and beautiful.
She said she saw how her mom’s trendy cane acted as an accessible conversation piece and allowed her to talk to people about more than her illness.
Much like her mother’s cane, Herold said the articles on her website can serve as a point of conversation or a way to boost self-esteem.
As an online retailer, Patti + Ricki offers hundreds of tailored clothing in one space so customers can shop for their needs in one place rather than having to search multiple websites or stores.
She said it was important for her to bring the items to a place because she saw how her aunt and uncle had to visit exhibitions or travel in order to find clothes for her cousin.
“I’m trying to eliminate this people hunt so that it’s easy to find,” she said.
Herold said her site has everything from magnetic shirts, wheelchair bags, jewelry for the blind, compression garments to bustle jewelry.
Simple adjustments to clothing, like adding fabric ties, magnets, or zippers, Herold said, can really change a person’s quality of life.
“This makes it possible for many people with disabilities to dress independently,” she said. “Most of the time it also works for people without disabilities. “
Most of the items are designed by people with disabilities or people with disabilities together with family members.
Herold said she wanted to continue to increase the number of items available and that the website has a suggestion box for users to request specific items.
“If one person needs it, (then) so many more people… are looking for it and need it,” she said.
In addition to increasing the number of products on her site, Herold said she wanted to see adaptive fashion enter the mainstream.
Most recently, his company partnered with JCPenney to feature some of the items on the department store’s website.
“I really think the time has come to be included in retail and the fashion industry,” Herold said.
For more information, visit pattiandricky.com.
Pilar Martinez covers retail and commercial real estate for the Journal. She can be reached at [email protected]