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March 26, 2007

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marylouise potts

I was really interested to read your blog primarily because I am in need of information from people who are having sight issues as I need to design a collection of clothes for blind persons.

I would be delighted if you would assist me in letting me know what you would love to have in your clothes, what type of clothes do you wear, what features would you love your clothes to have? what information would you like in your clothes, how do you choose your clothes to wear? what type of fibres do you like to wear, what type of fastenings do you prefer and why, if you could tell someone to design your clothes what would you tell them?

Very much hoping to read your response

Kelly

A close friend of mine just had her first baby about two months ago. My friend was born with spina bifida and has had lifelong mobility impairments that require her to use a wheelchair. Far more "disabling" for her is that she was raised and has continued to perpetuate into her adult life the idea that she can't handle anything of consequence on her own. Her parents fostered this attitude without reservation and she went directly from their home into her husband's home upon their marriage without ever really changing the MO in any significant sense. So now she's had to confront the reality of being at home all day long with this tiny demanding baby and no one in the house but her to do what needs to be done. And it's been a pretty difficult adjustment for her. I've done my best to be supportive of all of her distresses and whinings and fears, but inwardly I'm also cheering that life has managed to force her (hopefully) into achieving a kind of personal growth that no one else has been able to do.

One thing that I've learned via my life experience living with blindness and working with others with various physical impairments is that when you take any kind of ongoing "special issues" you have in your life (disabilities physical or otherwise, long-term financial problems, barely-survived upbringings...the list is a long one) and combine them with a major stressor event (giving birth, losing a loved one, law school...another stunningly long list), both are magnified more than the sum of their parts. Objectively it seems kind of obvious, I suppose, but it's hard to understand the dynamic when you're in the middle of it.

What I'm driving at is that you'll want to watch out for the times when you're more ready to be hard on yourself with regard to difficulties that pop up (and with a new baby, of course they will) than you should be, which you may tend to do as a result of your (perhaps hyper-) consciousness of your disability and whatever limitations are imposed by it. Try not to let your perceptions and fears concerning what you can and can not do physically hamper you more than your actual vision or lack thereof could ever do.

Kelly

Oh, and as to the clothes? Obviously, blind people are all slovenly and don't care what they wear, how it fits, or its state of general cleanliness or repair. Why should I care so long as I never have to look at it, right? Seriously, though. Blind people want clothing that is trendy, attractive, coordinating, comfortable, and appropriately fitted...just like everyone else (unless you're my husband--he just wants to be comfy). My clothing has marked labels, and I tend to wear neutrals to be safe, though I'm not afraid of color if I've someone sighted to bounce it off of first to make sure I'm not committing some sort of horrid clashing sin (not so good at differentiating plum from eggplant when I've never seen either one). Good textures are a huge bonus--I adore a huge variety of fabrics. Believe it or not, most blind people can pretty much handle any type of fastenings (generally speaking, it's our eyes on the blink, not our fingers). If I could make one suggestion to clothing designers, it'd be to sew the darn buttons on more tightly so I don't have to redo it as soon as I get the item home.

OK, I'll shut up now. Hang in there, Mad, you'll be OK!

marylouise potts

I am indebted to you for responding. It's hard to know whether asking questions is offensive or not. I hope you don't mind and I hope you'll let me know if you do mind!

I would like to know so much more.

You say that your clothing has marked labels. Would you want your labels to say something like Charcoal grey hipster straight leg pant can wear with stippled black and white round collar silk cotton shirt, and Winter white wool short jacket for a smart casual lunch Autumn winter?? Short wool coat should last you several seasons, shirt will need to check next season, pant should last into next season.

That is what goes with what and where to wear and how classic, trendy or faddy?

Do you want to be able to make up your labels when you get home or would you be happy to buy for example a set of "looks" as they say in the fashion industry, ie labels already telling what goes with what and the look created ?

Would a label kit be useful?

I can imagine that you have incredibly discerning sense of touch, what is your favourite fabric?

What are your favourite clothes and why?

Is there anything, bar the button issue you mention above, that you get really annoyed with with clothing?

I thought of putting some form of proximity sensor in the clothing, is that useful or would it be annoying to have light vibration buzzers going off in your clothes ? do you have these already, is there any other technology that you'd love to be in your clothing? Do you like pockets? What do you put in your pockets? Phone? Keys? ...

I have chosen so far as fabrics

- a very fine silk cotton white background small black spots in an aboriginal pattern, - a lemon coloured silk dupion which has a sound to it and is quite stiff, I was thinking of a dress out of this,
- 2 wool/polyester blends one winter white the other burnt orange quite thick and soft for coats, jackets, capes
- a very soft melon coloured jersey for tops
- a superfine charcoal grey wool for pants, jackets, vests

Would you like to add to this? take away from it?

I am yet to start designing but I would really welcome your views if you'd be interested as to do you like skirts/ dresses

I look forward to hearing from you, I hope you've had a fabulous easter

Kelly

Marylouise, out of respect for Madeline I won't take up any further space here on this subject, but you're welcome to e-mail me at kindacoolblindchick1 atsymbol yahoo dot com and I'll give you all the opinions I have that you never wanted to hear.

Madeline, by the same token, you're welcome to contact me, too, if I can ever be of assistance (I'm kind of half-baked but I mean well). Maybe that permission is understood by virtue of leaving a comment (bit of a blog virgin, I am) but I thought I'd throw it out there anyhow. Hope Crusher's not beating you up too much!

Kelly

Ack. MaryLou, I lost the e-mail you sent me. Please feel free to try again.

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