SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) – A Santa Fe woman works to create an inclusive online space for people with disabilities, chronic illnesses and the elderly. Through some of the most difficult and joyful times of her life, Alexandra Herold has found inspiration in those around her to create Patti + Ricky, an online marketplace meant to help those who may have difficulty using the options of traditional clothes.
The market is named after Herold’s mother, Patti, and his cousin, Ricky. âI grew up with my cousin Ricky and he was unable to walk or speak. He really formed the prism in which I see my own disabilities, as just being human and just part of the human experience, âHerold said.
Because she grew up with Ricky, Herold said she was able to form a very inclusive lens of her way of seeing the world. Herold’s mother, Patti, worked in the New York fashion industry. When she was 19, Herold’s mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. Herold became Patti’s caregiver and said it was difficult to find clothes that suited her mother. âShe always wanted to feel stylish, beautiful and confident so there was nothing going for her,â Herold said.
She got lucky in a medical supply store when Herold was looking for a cane for Patti. She ended up ordering a cane with pink roses on it for her mother. âI really saw the power of fashion and how her cane could also be a fashion accessory, and how it could be a topic of conversation. People started to feel more comfortable approaching her and my mom felt really good, âHerold said.
Herold herself deals with what she calls invisible disabilities, such as dyslexia, ADHD, anxiety, and POTS. She graduated from Columbia Teacher’s College where she focused on disability studies and worked with a non-profit organization with children with disabilities. All of this would result in her finding a way to become an ally of the disabled community.
She came across magnetic shirts that looked like regular button-down shirts, but instead of having to button each button individually, the shirt connected through the magnets. “I was like, ‘Wow, they’re awesome, why is someone buttoning themselves? Why don’t we all like or use Velcro? Maybe it’s just smarter fashion. What I think it is, âHerold said.
She knew of a number of companies that offered clothing designed for easier access, but they were all separate. âNo one brought these trendy, functional and adaptive fashion companies together in a beautiful way, so I started with 12 adaptive fashion brands, and today I have over 100 that we work with and that we offer at Patti and Ricky’s, âsaid Harold. .
One in four American adults has a disability according to the CDC. That’s 61 million adults in the country, many of whom have had to adapt their own clothes through trial and error, Herold said. His site brings together different options for children and adults in clothing, shoes and accessories.
“I’ve always wanted to create a great shopping experience with Patti and Ricky, but I also want to be part of mainstream fashion so people can walk or ride to their favorite stores or shop online and find things that suit them, âHerold mentioned. âEveryone deserves to shop at their favorite stores and find products that are right for them. Disability is a giant population, and they deserve stylish options and options that are functional. “