Tranform: Fashion in Touch and Sound

By Jo Phillips

Physical boundaries such as impaired vision can force creatives to discover new approaches to complete their individual pursuits. Kingston University student, Bianca Von Stempel, recognised as blind, has no central vision and can only see colours and clouded shapes with her right eye. Sticking by her childhood ambitions to become a fashion designer Bianca has used her heightened sense of touch to piece together garments for her collection. Exploring viewing a collection threw touch, Bianca incorporated reverse braille in her collection. ” I’ve had holes laser-cut into nude pink-coloured coated canvas, rather than the raised bumps you would normally have with braille. The shapes becomes different letters depending on which way you turn the material”. Bianca’s limitations have adapted her way of working, creating innovative combinations of braille and fashion.

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Information about fashion can often be hard to access for those with partial vision. Unfortunately it is not an industry that is good at catering to people with physical boundaries. Christina Ha, ‘The Blind Cook’ and winner of Masterchef US, season 3, adapted a way of cooking with partial sight. After multiple comments on her great style and well applied make-up Christina shared her secrets to how a blind girl keeps up with fashion and beauty on her blog ‘The Blind Cook’. Christina used her relationship with ‘Sight into Sound’ and personally requested the audio of ‘InStyle’ her favourite fashion magazine monthly. With ‘InStyle’ now avaliable this gives those who are restricted by only braille and audio books an easier route to keeping up with fashion.

In the world of beauty there have been developments in simplifying the relationship between the blind and their beauty products. Reaching into your bathroom cabinet for the bottle labeled moisturiser may seem like a simple job but for those that are visually impaired this is not such an easy task. L’Occitane now include braille on all of their packaging, clearly labeling what each product is on the side of the box, aiming to simplify everyone’s daily facial regime. L’Occitane supports the prevention of avoidable blindness in developing countries and have a partnership with Blind Children UK. An example should be taken from L’Occitane’s work for the blind and continue to make the beauty industry one that is available to all.

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