Fashion & Beauty Spoonie Stories

Why Having a Visual Impairment Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Enjoy Fashion

In response to a tweet from someone asking, ‘why do you care so much about fashion if you’re blind’, lifestyle blogger Elin Williams aka My Blurred World decided to write a blog post. It turns out it is a topic that many visually impaired women are asked on a regular basis. We find out more about this important issue and what fashion means to Elin.

You were inspired to write a blog post about your love of fashion after receiving a question about being blind and loving fashion. Are these types of messages common for you?

I receive a lot of questions about my vision impairment. People tend to ask about how I do things such as use my phone, go on the train independently and how I write my blog. People have asked about my love of fashion as a vision impaired person in the past. However, no one has asked it in such a direct way. This inspired me to address the topic.

Have you always has an interest in fashion? What do you enjoy most about it?

Until I was about 13 or 14, I had no interest in fashion. I didn’t like shopping. I’d be quite happy walking out of the house without putting any thought into my outfit. A plain hoodie and a pair of straight leg jeans was my go-to look. But then I started going on shopping days with one of my friends and I think her interest in fashion rubbed off on me. I realised how much there is to explore with fashion and started watching hauls on YouTube. I guess my interest grew from there.

There’s so much I enjoy when it comes to fashion. But the thing I love the most is pairing outfits together. I love incorporating elements of the latest trends into my own style and playing around with different looks.

why do you care about fashion when you're blind

In your blog post, you suggest the media is to blame for creating the assumption that blind and disabled people don’t care about their appearance. How do you think we can change people’s understanding of this biased representation?

I think people are becoming more aware and understanding of the realities of living with sight loss. They understand how we can enjoy things such as beauty and fashion. This is because many people are becoming more open with their stories, sharing them on blogs for example.

I think that bringing stories about vision impairment and disability into mainstream media can also help massively. It’s beneficial for people to hear about our experiences from our own perspective. The media can sometimes portray unrealistic representations.

Describe the process of choosing new clothes and how wearing them makes you feel.

When buying a new item for my wardrobe, I’ll always take note of the fabric and quality. If something doesn’t feel nice, I pop it back on the rail. I can still see colours so I can determine if I like an item in that sense. Although I do mix up colours such as blue and green, red and pink etc.

When trying things on, the shape of the item is what I notice the most and just the fit in general. I can normally tell if something is unflattering, because I’ve become to understand my own body shape, what suits and what doesn’t.

vision impairment and fashion

“I ordered it online because the description given was quite good” – How important is the written product description to help paint a picture of what the outfit will look like and is this difficult to find on mainstream retail websites?

The description of an item is so important, the more detail the better in my eyes. If the description is quite vague, chances are that I’ll click off because it would be impossible to paint a picture in my head.

I find that it’s very hit and miss with product descriptions. Some can be good like the one I mentioned in the blog post but others don’t have much detail at all. I think this is something that mainstream retail websites need to work on.

In some ways it would seem that visually impaired people have a closer connection with fashion and appreciate clothes in a different way, focusing on texture and the feel of the fabric. Do you think that fully sighted people miss out on this experience?

I think fully sighted people can overlook the deeper aspects of fashion just because it’s portrayed as something so visual. But I guess it depends on how much interest you have in it.

Personally, I think people should appreciate fashion for so much more than its visual attributes. Maybe fully sighted people can learn a little something from people with vision impairment in terms of appreciating them. I think it’s definitely an aspect of fashion that needs to be explored more.

You can check out Elin’s ‘Why do you care about fashion if you’re blind’ blog post and more at My Blurred World.

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