If you’re not satisfied with the current denim pants selection, you might want to check out Amp Pants. Founded by Erica Cole, the soon-to-be-launched amputee-friendly jeans line will feature reinforced fabric, inseam zippers, and other enhancements to accommodate the unique needs of prosthesis leg users.
Cole felt the need to design and produce amputee-friendly jeans after losing her leg in a car accident in 2018. The then-25-year-old was on the path for a job in actinide chemistry—a branch of nuclear chemistry. But she soon refocused her sights on what she can do given her new situation.
Amp Pants are designed based on input from a few hundred prosthesis users and prosthetists. Using invaluable feedback, Cole created jeans that fused the comfort and durability of denim with easy on and off convenience. As of this publication, the jeans are available for pre-order, and shipping is expected to start on August 2021.
Amp Pants are jeans that fuse the comfort and durability of denim with easy on and off convenience.
A new path
Within two days after amputation, Cole started gathering data about the amputee life from Facebook groups as well as other online platforms and resources.
In an interview, Cole mentioned that her massive first prosthesis inspired her to work on her clothing business. It was so bulky that she found it challenging to find something she could wear with it. At that time, Cole thought that other amputees have already found a way around it, but she discovered that they, too, struggled to dress around their prostheses.
Although Cole was a trained chemist, she also knew a thing or two about making nonstandard clothing. While earning her chemistry degree, Cole also built a successful side hustle as a costume designer. She created clothes for her school’s theater program as well as for fellow students who wanted to look good at Comic-Con and other cosplay events. Because costumes had different requirements, Cole picked up numerous tricks for hiding visual intrusions like seams and fasteners. This skill came in handy when she needed to adapt her wardrobe to her new body.
The journey to Amp Pants
Cole altered her clothes by hand. Her newly-altered pants featured zippers in the leg part, and people around her noticed. They encouraged her to start a business, which she named “No Limbits.” Her budding business received more interest when she attended the Amputee Coalition National Conference in 2019 by wearing a pair of her altered jeans and a shirt with a print that encouraged people to ask her about her pants.
That single stunt led to many orders that she eventually couldn’t handle working on the business alone. While altering numerous jeans for her customers, she also realized that she could make better clothes from scratch because altering had its limitations.
In late 2019, Cole attended a pitch conference in Chicago and was noticed by a representative from Target. That incident led her to join Target’s prestigious incubator program.
Cole and her small team got the chance to receive invaluable advice from Target’s vice president for clothing and apparel, as well as the head of the company’s denim lines. Those two resource persons proved crucial in No Limbits' pivot from a small DIY shop on Etsy into a full-blown business. This also freed Cole from working with the sewing machine for days.
When Cole brought Mindy Scheier, founder of Runway of Dreams, into her advisory board, her business gained more traction. At this point, she was also able to forge connections with big players in adaptive fashion, including Zappos Adaptive.
The last step that brought Amp Pants to life was raising seed money, which, Cole found out, was the easiest part of the entire process. Back in April, she launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance Amp Pants’ first production run. The campaign garnered $12,000 in about a week.
Like most adaptive fashion pieces, Amp Pants jeans are designed for everyone; you don’t have to be an amputee or a prosthesis user to wear and feel comfortable in the jeans. The pieces are available in men’s and women’s sizes as well as in multiple hues. Before the end of the year, Cole plans to introduce a line of adaptive joggers, so watch out for that, too.You can already place your orders for Amp Pants here.