Not Being Blinded By Fashion

How many times as visually impaired people are we hit with the line ‘You don’t look blind…’ It’s anyone’s guess what would be defined as the ‘blind look’ but regardless losing your vision doesn’t mean you should loose your clothing identity and sense of style. Some of our service users discuss how they continue to dress and be themselves whilst living with sight loss.

Sam R ‘I decided at 17, or so that keeping up with fashion was making me unhappy. That’s when I started buying vintage or second hand stuff. When I had reasonable vision I would alter or up cycle stuff. The buying technique I used then and now was to try things on and only if something felt right and comfortable would I look at it. I tend to go for particular makes that I know fit me well, and go for practical fabrics that I can throw in the wash. I rely on other peoples help with colours and I find 99% of shop staff are only to happy to help with advice. I keep favourite things for many years and I’m happy to wear things as old as me. ‘I find it useful to keep an entire outfit including scarves and jewellery on one hangar at the end of my wardrobe rail. If I’m in a rush it’s all to hand. I also tie something like a ribbon or hair bobble to the tops of hangars to help with identification.’

Sue D ‘I cannot scan the rails anymore so I ring up the shop in advance so I can have someone to walk me around. Once garments are handed to me I can usually see them. I go shopping with my My Guide lady. In the White Rose Centre Debenhams now have a personal shopper that blind people can ring up and book in advance although I have not used this service yet. I also shop online a lot, using the channel QVC you can listen to the products descriptions or you can call the customer service line and the staff are really good at describing items.’ ‘I tend to but a lot of Kim & Co from QVC as they don’t need ironing and don’t crease. I use my Seeing AI app for identifying colours or reading out labels.’

Jules A ‘As I cannot see colours I just base my choices on my favourite colours from when I could see. I would say that 80% of my clothes shopping is done online. Jo Browns website is fantastic, and if you ring their head office the staff give you more details on the description. I also have an app for Mint Velvet. i can’t say i have had any outstanding customer service in shops. I know what I like and wouldn’t rely on a strangers opinion. I use my colour checker and if I am out and see something I will take a screen shot and send it to a friend who will give me a thumbs up or down.’ ‘I tend to stick to small shops. When I was losing my vision I was once in Debenhams and found it very stressful as i couldn’t find my way out and was too scared to ask for help. It’s funny how hings change….if that happened now I would probably enjoy the experience of passing through all the different concessions on the way out.’

Siti B ‘I don’t like shopping in the shops because the lighting in the shops really strains my eye. I always shop online and tend to stay with particular brands because of the quality of the fabrics and the workmanship. Plus I know the measurement guides are accurate. I tend to pair what I am buying with what i already have at home. My husband will help me with choosing the right colours. I also will pair tops and bottoms together and hang them together in the wardrobe. As I wear a scarf I will make sure that I don’t have to buy another scarf when I have bought a new outfit. My favourite accessories are handbag’s and shoes. These must match with my outfits. My husband will help me with this.

This blog post reflects the personal opinions and experiences of our service users, KVIN does not endorse any of the companies or venues mentioned. Blog written by Sam Heaton.