“Fashion should be inclusive.” Introducing SA’s first-ever range of braille clothing
If your clothes could talk, what would they say? Designer Balini Naidoo believes an outfit can do more than make a statement. Naidoo’s uncle is visually impaired, and she realised he struggled to identify his clothing. Choosing what to wear and reading the size and wash care details on a label can be a challenge for people who can’t see. “Fashion should be inclusive,” Naidoo says. So she began creating garments which enable people to become more self-reliant. With her range of braille apparel, she’s altering the industry.
In 2018, Naidoo founded her eponymous line, Balini, designing clothes with a braille identification system printed on them. Each item has a pattern of raised blocks, explaining what would typically go on the label as well as the colour and style. The garments are also reversible, making them easier to wear. Naidoo’s range is as fashionable as it is practical, keeping to a minimalist aesthetic and soft tones. With a degree in Fashion and Textiles from Durban University of Technology, she’s determined to thread social responsibility into her work.
For each purchase, Naidoo donates a percentage of the profit to the Cape Town Society for the Blind, ensuring empowerment on multiple levels. Her innovative creations prove that fashion can have a tremendous impact, while sending a message to other designers. “Continue thinking out of the box and address social challenges that are close to you,” Naidoo says. She’s the only person in South Africa creating clothing especially for people who are visually impaired. As Naidoo redefines the possibilities of her craft, she’s transforming lives. Inclusivity looks good on everyone.