Designing fashion for the Visually Impaired.


In the world of fashion, the visually impaired have often been left out, but one designer is changing that narrative. Meet Angela Wanjiku, a designer who has utilised the power of Human-Centered Design (HCD) to create inclusive clothing for the visually impaired. Her brand, Hisi Studio, is breaking barriers by incorporating braille into their designs, making it possible for visually impaired individuals to not only wear stylish clothing but also read important information about the clothes. Angela’s work at Hisi Studio is a testament to the fact that HCD can be used to address even the most complex challenges in the fashion industry.

In this article, we will explore how Angela’s use of HCD has led to the creation of clothing that not only meets the unique needs of visually impaired individuals but also empowers them to feel included in the fashion world. Join us as we delve into the world of Hisi Studio and discover how HCD is driving innovation in fashion.

Image: Clothing with braille prints 

The Joy of Inclusion

The joy of inclusion is a feeling that can only be experienced when everyone is accommodated, and no one is left behind. This is particularly true for people with disabilities, who have often been excluded from various aspects of life due to their impairment. However, with the advent of inclusive design, people with disabilities can now participate in various activities on an equal footing with others. The design of clothing with braille for the visually impaired is an excellent example of inclusive design that has brought about a feeling of joy and belonging for people with visual impairments.

With the design of clothing that is accessible to people with visual impairments, they can now dress themselves independently without relying on the help of others. This has given them a sense of empowerment and dignity, and it has also boosted their confidence and self-esteem. They can now go about their daily lives without feeling left out or disadvantaged. Moreover, with the inclusion of people with visual impairments in the design process, their needs and preferences are now being considered, and they have a say in how they want to be represented in the world of fashion.

The joy of inclusion is not just about creating accessible designs for people with disabilities, but it is also about creating a sense of belonging and empowerment for them. The design of clothing with braille for the visually impaired is a testament to the power of inclusive design in making the world a better place for everyone.

HCD Process

The project was focused on creating an adaptive clothing line for visually impaired users to ensure independence in dressing up and shopping. The process started with secondary research on vision impairment and adaptive clothing. The next step was meeting with visually impaired persons, assistive technology experts, teachers, lecturers, specialists, and therapists to gain an understanding of the scope of the project. Designing the clothing followed, including prototypes, which were presented for examination. The prototypes were tested for three months by a sample of six university students who provided feedback on the braille and tactile parts on the clothing. The solution involved finding a way to make the braille and tactile parts more durable. The key insights from the project were that visually impaired users want to read and interact with their clothing, and durable materials are needed for the braille and tactile parts of the clothing.

In conclusion, the process of designing inclusive clothing for the visually impaired requires a deep understanding of their unique needs and challenges. Through human-centered design principles, designers can create solutions that prioritize accessibility, independence, and security. This involves conducting extensive research and testing, as well as collaborating closely with the end-users to ensure that their needs are being met. In the case of designing braille clothing for the visually impaired, the use of tactile materials and QR codes can greatly enhance their independence and ability to navigate the world around them. Additionally, the joy of inclusion that comes from creating clothing that is accessible to everyone cannot be overstated. By prioritizing inclusive design, designers can create a more equitable and empowering world for all individuals, regardless of their abilities. It is crucial for designers to continue to prioritize accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of their work, and to continue to listen to and learn from the diverse perspectives and experiences of all individuals.

This blogpost is brought to you by Proportion Global, the most decentralised human-centered design agency in the world, uniting curated HCD professionals from over 46 countries in the global south (at time of writing). Through our blogposts, we put designers from the Proportion community in the spotlight, in order to inspire more people to take on HCD practices to create positive change in society. 

  • Interviewee: Angela Wanjiku, a Proportion Global community member from Kenya
  • Interviewer and author: Udoka Onyebuolise, a Proportion Global community member from Nigeria


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