Braille everything

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So each fashion project ends with a photo shoot and illustrations. This time to close this project, I decided to draw illustrations for sighted people and dot my technical drawings for blind people to understand my clothes. During my braille research, I came across a polaroid camera that helped to take braille pictures for blind people. Okay, I can’t exactly say it’s braille since it dots the shape of the object and doesn’t utilise the language but you know what I mean!

So, I studded the lines to allow them to feel the outlines of my clothes and possibly the different parts in it. If I had more time, I would perfect the dotting system, perhaps using the same sized dots for everything and getting all the spaces right.

This braille concept has so much more space to explore and I don’t feel like I’ve totally exhausted everything. Maybe womenswear next?

Ready, set, shoot!

Finally after two intense weeks of working day and night (and in my dreams too, seriously!), the outfit I’ve been working on is finally done! Just three weekends ago, I was beading the sleeves of the garment with white buttons in our hotel in Shanghai and now it has been cut and sewn into my garment.

To bring you up to speed (since I actually have not), the name of my collection is Fishing in the dark. It brings together the abstract topic of blindness and the sport of fishing in a collection. Frankly speaking, I wouldn’t have chosen to put these two together if I could, but our assignment required us to pick both an ethnic group and a sport. Somehow I immediately went with fishing but my initial choice of ethnic group was Indians. However upon further research, I was convicted to change it because Indians believed that unstitched garments are more holy, which explains why the iconic sari and dhoti are both draped.

I immediately went on to pick something I felt for- blind people. Although it was not an obvious option, it fulfilled several elements of an ethnic group, other than geographical proximity. These people had a language and a culture. It was very hard to research into their world but I stumbled upon a whole bunch of videos from a school for the blind in Washington that brought me to tears. They had video lessons to train helpers to blind people with videos on how to zip a jacket or button a shirt. These simple things to us were such hard tasks for these people and it never occurred to me how precious my eyesight was, beyond just seeing the beautiful world out there.

The project was very tough for me because blindness was a completely abstract subject. At the same time, I was also designing menswear and when I put these two together, I really wanted to create functional clothing. However, I kept making ‘work wear’ rather than ‘fashionable clothing’ and had to rework my looks a lot.

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To cut the long story short, the final garment which is a look from my capsule collection of 6 plays a lot on textures. Rather than having basic simple pants, I played with fabrics like corduroy and suede which had a different feeling. I also manipulated the suede and punched in sentences in braille which only the blind could understand. On my top, I sewed braille in the form of buttons and for the main area, I weaved suede ribbons through holes to cover those I didn’t want, in order to create my braile form from a different manner.

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The fishing, on the other hand, inspired the silhouettes of the garment. The waders, crazy amounts of pockets, nets and waterblock zips. I added my ‘fashionable’ fishing touch with fish shaped pockets on the top and fish flies with feathers on the zips.

By the way, if you’re wondering what the braille said, it’s “I am not blind.” This was inspired by a quote by Helen Keller, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

The pictures from my photoshoot on Saturday will be out soon so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Braille in beads

So it’s pretty much crunch time in school. Our final outfit is due at the end of this coming week which also means I have to finish my textiles for the look as soon as possible!

braille be

I spent 5 hours today beading 3 rows of braille that says “I am not blind” onto a mesh sleeve. Goodness, it makes me feel so slow and unproductive. After doing such manual labour, I have really developed an appreciation for all handwork. I’m not used to seeing the clock tick by so quickly while the work in front of me doesn’t seem to be progressing as fast.

The final look will be coming this week! And yes, I should be posting on Shanghai soon… SOON, I promise 🙂