Clothing tips for the visually impaired
Over the past few the years, great strides have been made to ensure that all people, regardless of disability, have access to quality clothing. There have always been products available that help the visually impaired identify the clothes in their closet. Today the blind and visually impaired can identify clothes before they get to the closet. Here are some helpful hints when it comes to putting on clothes:
Clothing Identification: Most articles of clothing will have at least one distinct way of identifying them by feel. They will have different buttons or snaps, or the fabric or texture will be different. Some dresses or skirts will have belts or elastic at the waist or different kind of pockets. Example: The red shirt is the one with funny shaped buttons or the blue pants are the one without pockets. Example: Perhaps you can identify the green blouse as the one with the fuzzy collar which matches with the green pants that has a belt that feels like rope. In this way, blind people can tell their clothes apart by touch and they can tell what clothes match.
Labeling System: Braille readers can use braille labels to mark their clothing, enabling them to match articles. Braille tags are commercially available and can make identification easy. These tags are small metal tags that have color words and pattern words. The tags can be sewn onto the tag or the inside seam of the clothing. The tags may irritate the skin, so it may help to sew them to the bottom hem if they are concealed. Alternatively, a label can be made by brailling on durable, but not too thick, plastic.
For non-braille readers, buttons of different shapes can be used to match items, or a certain shape can represent a color. The button, like the braille tags, can be sewn in the inside hem of the shirt. Iron-on tape is another method of labeling clothes. Cut the tape into various shapes and have a system for matching shapes similar to the button method.
Before implementing a labeling system, try using any of the following organizational techniques:
New clothing designers are focusing on classifying more colors, recognizing clothes patterns, and transferring the function to smart phones.
The key is to listen to what the needs are and design clothing that is attractive and usable for anyone and everyone, regardless of whether they can see.