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Canes are the new black

Fashion can be for canes as for garment. And canes can be for people as pieces of garment are. It is all a matter of market perspective.

Photo of Fabio Ferreira
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Since people usually do not accept so easily the aging process and face canes and crutches as sickening and burdening signs, a systematic collective thinking defragmentation is needed. That is because individuals take into account what they are shown by media and by the hugest brands.

In this context, it is pursued the reintroduction of canes in huge markets, such as how they were sold in the1920’s and 30’s, but without appealing to function merely. Thus, this product’s design will also be based on aesthetics and form aspects, once its use will be put together with accessories, such as hats, eyeglasses, purses, etc.

By this approach, the idea will reach and, based on market perspective, get to different segments. That is why the target for this revolution are the same people who follow big fashion names (Ralph Lauren, Miuccia Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, etc), even if indirectly. This means saying that people who follow, even involuntarily, fashion as those names dictate, will also follow canes’ trends, from the moment in which they see canes as accessories. At the end of the day, it is all a matter of how the final client sees the product.

Canes, in this context, seen as accessories, will be pieces to show in store windows, composing with other pieces of garment. Segmentation, in this case, is not made by age, but by style. This means each customer is able to compose their own look, introducing canes to fit their more often used clothes and accessories. For example, a cheerful and colorful cane is not exclusive to young people, but for people that feel emotionally connected to the product.

Emotional connection is important for the solution not to be shown as a remedy, but as a pleasure. The pleasure to use a product with which the elder feels comfortable will make them take care of themselves involuntarily.

Canes are proved to be one of the easiest ways to decrease the risk of falls. Nonetheless, using canes is taboo nowadays. To the extent in which resistance to the use decreases and, in its place, the pleasure to match pieces of garment to the elder favorite cane, falls’ reduction will be a consequence.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

In my own community, I can search for partnering with clothing stores, to gain interest in selling stylish canes. Besides, I can prepare those stores and their sales force to present the product in their store windows as an accessory, with campaigns that focus on different uses for the cane, apart from the idea of supporting a body or helping with its balance. This way, it is possible to carry out a pilot project in the city, observe customers’ reaction and, then, refine the idea locally.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

It would be interesting if OpenIDEO helped with market data obtaining, with research, for example. Besides, it would really be helpful if the idea would be spread for other regions in the world, so that feedback can be collected from different cultures, in what concerns the introduction of canes as fashion accessories.

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • A student collaboration

Tell us about your work experience:

I've worked for several years directly in contact to people. With this contact I've been able to captivate clients’ perceptions on different kinds of product. I've been able to perceive, also, that clients usually tell their friends about the best practices and products.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Fabio!

Thank you for sharing your idea with us. Do you have any designs that you would like to share with the OpenIDEO community?

What do you think of these cane designs?
Customizable Fashion Sticks 
Walking Shade: Cane + Parasol Canes against stigma 

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Interesting Fabio! You might check the idea of Cane day and maybe post on their prototype / facebook page:

also what do you think of this design?