Darby Lee Young is the Founder of Level Playing Field, an accessibility agency focused on the implementation of universal design principles and accessible best practices. Born with mild cerebral palsy, Darby works to mitigate barriers that people like her face on a daily basis. In 2020, that manifested in an unexpected and personal way, when Darby collaborated with shoe designer John Fluevog to create a line of shoes — affectionately named The Darby — with a sole that is rubber, removable, and easier to repair, taking the needs of those with particular disabilities into consideration.
The work began when Darby approached her favourite shoe designer with a problem: because of her gait, her footwear always wore down in a particular spot, and lasted anywhere from a day to a month. Rather than the repair she was looking for, John Fluevog proposed a collaboration. The bestselling ‘Darby’ line now includes five colours, and is sold across Canada and internationally.