5 years ago, Whee Boon woke up in the hospital to a new reality – a life with all four of his limbs amputated. Attacked by a rare bacteria, it was the only solution to save his life. However this also meant that he could no longer continue his work as a technician or go back to playing his favourite sports – swimming and basketball.
Whee Boon’s story has since become an inspiration to many. With the help of his wife, learning to use prosthetic legs and finding a new passion in wheelchair rugby, Whee Boon continually adapts to his new life.
We learned about Whee Boon through his friend and lawyer, Shen Kiat, who wanted to customise a piece of apparel for him. When we met Whee Boon he already knew what he wanted – a suit. He had never worn a suit before and was looking forward to receiving an award at the end of the year. A suit that met his needs would be just what he needed for the next chapter of his journey.
The jacket was customised to Whee Boon’s body and since his arms have been amputated, the jacket has short sleeves to fit him just right. Magnetic buttons were the go-to solution here as it makes buttoning much easier for Whee Boon.
For Whee Boon, toileting had become a limiting factor, especially when he is outside of home. It is challenging for him to keep his grasp on his pants and without a caregiver, they easily slip and fall to the ground. After a series of trial and error, we finally found our solution in what we now call HangLoops – A pair of long loops on the inside of the pants that can easily hang around his arms, holding up the pants while he needs them. Realising that this is a common problem for many people, we decided to include this feature in our newest collection.
We also made the pants to be convertible – from long pants to shorts (see also Convertible Cargo Pants). Wear it long for formal occasions or unzip around the knee for a pair of shorts to beat the Singapore heat. A trusty and inclusive all-purpose companion for every journey.
A combination of HangLoops and an elastic waistband did the trick and voilà, Whee Boon’s pants was ready.
Meeting people like Whee Boon has always been a big perk of our job. Whee Boon’s story and spirit was simply inspiring and we're glad that we, too, have become a part of his story. A man’s first suit often marks a milestone in his life and we hope that this customised suit will see him through many more milestones.
We're also thankful that we managed to develop HangLoops through through working with with Whee Boon. It is our hope that people who face the same challenges will also benefit from it!