Chinese influencer Xiao Yang revolutionized the world of jewelry when she decided that her prosthetic leg could become something nobody had seen before, something beautiful. Nearly 20 years ago a leg prosthesis became part of her everyday life. For a long time she wore only T-shirts and straight pants, but now she has the courage to risk wearing more daring clothes. “Wearing a prosthesis deformed one side of my buttocks,” she explained to Vogue magazine. Today, Yang has nearly 35,000 followers on Instagram.
One day Yang decided to experiment with her looks and found herself wanting a prosthesis that reflected her modern and irreverent style. She met Xiaoyu Zhang and Min Li, the two designers behind the jewelry brand YVMIN. Yang went along with the idea, which involved turning the removable limb into a bold statement, as if it were a fashion accessory.
The feeling is super cool. There will definitely be more people who need to try itXiao Yang
The idea, says Yang, is to show everyone that yes, wearing a prosthesis is a fact that cannot be changed but a stylish prosthesis is possible. According to Vogue magazine, high fashion accessories linked to these needs are rare. Some retailers, such as the Amputee Store, sell special socks and linings for prostheses. But avant-garde alternatives like the ones YVMIN has created remain a rarity. And even then, they are not for sale; they were custom created with Yang in mind.
The result of the collaboration was three decorative shells that can be placed over the prostheses. YVMIN’s specialty is creating delicate and feminine jewelry, such as earrings in the shape of bows or heart-shaped pendants. But meeting Yang opened the designers’ horizons. “When we saw Xiao sharing her looks on social media with her strong personal style, we thought it might be a good opportunity,” explained Zhang. “We decided to make only the covers for the prosthetics.”
The designers have made 3D scans of Yang’s lower limbs in order to produce a structure that would fit easily. Some of them are made of nylon and resin. They have added fun decorative elements that would make these accessories look like pieces of jewelry. Purple zirconias are among the sparkles they chose to elevate the look of their creations.
We hope this project will lead to more people paying attention to the decorations that can be used. We hope that our design and creation can give people more choices, regardless of which group they belong to – this is our motivation for the futureXiaoyu Zhang, YVMIN designer
Once the posts of the collaboration hit social media, both YVMIN and Xiao Yang amassed thousands of likes and positive reactions. For many, this represents a symbolic moment within the fashion industry.
For the trio behind YVMIN, the project has been a confirmation that there is room for more such ideas to be thrown into the industry. Xiao Yang says she wants to continue designing different prosthetics. YVMIN hopes to have inspired other brands to experiment with the idea themselves.