Accessibility Meets Fashion In Clothing Identification Solutions
Improving accessibility for blind and visually impaired (B&VI) people is a critical and ongoing process. Thanks to my role in Bold Blind Beauty, I have participated in many research projects on the topic of accessibility. The most recent ‘creating accessible makeup packaging for (B&VI) people’ was so exciting I could barely contain myself. Exchanging ideas and coming up with novel approaches to creating more accessible makeup is huge. What this means, in a nutshell, is we are moving in the right direction.
So a few days ago, I was thrilled when Faye, contacted me. Faye, a recent fashion and textile designer graduate, working on her Master’s dissertation asked if I could put feelers out in my network. She needs to collect anonymous data to move forward with the project.
What was interesting to me is Faye’s reason behind her research. I found out her passion for her work was borne as a result of her mom’s chronic illness. Her mom wanted to look beautiful even when she was at her worst. What influenced Faye to make a difference was her mom’s clothes didn’t last long because of her disability.
Hi, my name is Faye and I’m a mature Masters student from the University of Portsmouth. I am writing a paper to identify areas that need improvement in the clothing identification of (B&VI) people. Creating digital labeling solutions will follow. I am looking for participants to complete my survey or just to comment. This will help me understand the processes and what people actually want to know about their clothes for easier identification. The data will be transferred into the labels.
“‘You are not less of a person for using a white cane.’ This takeaway was life-changing for me; the cane doesn’t define you, it’s just a tool. After hearing this I became a different person and people noticed.”
Some of you may know me and some of you may not. Before I explain what this post is about, I will give a short introduction to who I am. My name is Amy Wilson, a middle-aged thirty-something midwestern woman.
For over 25 years I’ve been defined as legally blind and never considered myself a special or unique flower. Although, I’ve accomplished many things in my life that some say are exceptional. In fact, in the last few weeks, close friends have told me I need to improve my self-promotion skills.
I’m so bad when it comes to talking about myself. My husband is the same way—humble is the name of our game. Not my son though, he is the show off of the family. Each person in my wonderful family has their own disability. I only say this to tell you there is a lot of stuff going on in our household.
The #BlindMKLady Hashtag Breakdown…
1. Let’s begin with why I chose to include the word ‘blind’
First, saying visually impaired makes it too long, lol, just kidding. In the world we live in, you are ‘blind’ to the sighted community even if you have residual sight. On the other hand, to the blind community, you are ‘sighted’ if you have a little vision. How does that even make any sense? So am I blind or not?
For over twenty years I hated when people would call me blind, I would go on the defense right away. Do you know where that got me? Nowhere really.
Being called a blind person bothered me so much I wouldn’t even use a white cane. So if I have ever shoulder checked you I am sorry. According to my ex-husband, I did it a lot but in 2015 that changed for me. I can remember it very clearly as I met people who I now call family. And you would never guess who they were? Yes! Other blind people!!!
I mean I had previously met blind people, but these people didn’t let their blindness define them. Adding to this, was my takeaway ‘you are not less of a person for using a white cane.’ This takeaway was life-changing for me; the cane doesn’t define you, it’s just a tool. After hearing this I became a different person and people noticed. I no longer had a problem walking around with my white cane. If anything I think I strutted a little more.
2. Classification of Being ‘Blind’
Last year I heard a speech that changed my viewpoint on being classified as ‘blind.’ It talked about how people put you into categories and how as blind people we do it as well. The point made was, ‘why are we segregating ourselves within our own blind community?’ Whether you have no vision or just been declared legally blind, guess what? You’re blind! Now let that sink in.
I know from personal experience it’s hard to take on the blind label. It’s especially difficult when you are new to blindness. When I heard that speech I made the decision to stop saying “I’m visually impaired” and just say “blind.” By doing this, I’m letting society know that ‘blindness’ is not just the ‘totally blind’ but me too.
I’m blind so what? I’m still a Rock Star! No way am I a rock star but I think you get my point. And maybe you just have to listen to the P!nk song—”So What.”
3. What’s A MKLady?
The other part of my hashtag speaks for itself as I am a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. I love the company, Mary Kay. This is actually my second time being a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant.
My first time, with Mary Kay I was not confident in my blindness at ALL. I let it get in the way of having my own Mary Kay business. This time is totally different. I got great advice right from the start. If they can’t handle the fact that I am blind then they are just ‘not my people.’ Simple right?
‘Not your people’ can be used in so many different areas of our lives, even with family. Be confident in who you are, no matter what!!! Do I have regrets in my life? You bet, but I don’t dwell on those things—you can’t change the past and the future is tomorrow’s problem. However, you can focus on now.
Knowing Who I Am
I view myself as the #BlindMKLady and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I am not the only #BlindMKLady out there either. I’ve met other MK ladies and am personally building my team of blind and sighted ladies. My goal is to be the first blind Mary Kay Sales Director. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me. My goal is huge even for a sighted consultant. If you want to assist in helping me achieve this goal let’s chat.
No matter what your goal is in life don’t let something like being blind hold you back. Blindness does not define you. You define you. Put your big girl panties on and make stuff happen. If you want someone to cheer you on, contact me, I will be your cheerleader.
Be Bold, Be Beautiful and most of all be true to YOU!!!
Amore is the Italian word for love. Amore is also the online shop where I snagged this fabulous earring storage album that I talk about in the video. Before I go any further, I am not being compensated for this review which is purely my personal opinion.
If you decide to order this product I’d like to offer a few words of caution:
It wasn’t obvious who the company was. The second point explains my rationale for placing my order
The price of the album was cheap almost “too good to be true.” In view of this I figured:
The product was probably subpar
It would be coming from some distant land where it would take a month or so to receive
The option to pay by PayPal lessened the risks so I went for it
It took a couple of weeks for my package to arrive. Unfortunately, I already shredded the address label and can’t remember where it was shipped from.
While there are legitimate companies who use Gmail accounts, typically I prefer an email address that matches the domain of the business. When I received my confirmation it was a Gmail address via Shopify.
I ordered a red storage album and as you can see, received a pink one. While I could have sent the pink one back it was not a dealbreaker for me, so I kept it. Since the benefits of easy storage outweighed the risks this was a perfect option for me.
Brilliant Earring Storage Solution Featured Image Description:
The photo is a frame from the video where I’m sitting at my dining table demonstrating the album. I’m wearing a black headwrap with gold threads and a decorative flower is over my left ear. With my black/gray v-neck sweater I have a black oblong scarf with gold threads tied around my neck.
The screenshot confirms the item I ordered and while the image is a pink album “red” is indicated per my selection. Text within the screenshot says “80% off 2019 New Year special price earring storage album.”
Time has to be our most valuable commodity and it’s one where there can never be enough! As we age, our time is even more precious because we are aware of approaching expiration dates.
When I began losing my eyesight I viewed time as the enemy. You see, when you experience a major life-altering event like sight loss it impacts Every. Single. Thing. You. Do. Every. Single. Day. Tasks that used to take minutes to accomplish can now take an obscene amount of time complete.
The urgency of carrying out time-intensive projects compounded by my physical disability can sometimes be overwhelming. Stress followed by panic attacks are typically the result of applying an extraordinary amount of pressure on myself to perform.
Adapting to our disabilities, being flexible, and creative are critical steps in our ability to thrive within our circumstances. When we are able to identify and get rid of time-sucking elements in our lives, it can be a real game-changer.
What About Wardrobe & Makeup Tasks?
One of my guilty pleasures is watching YouTube makeup tutorials. I’m so fascinated with the amount of time spent and products used by many YouTubers to apply their makeup. The artistry involved in these makeup transformations is something to behold. In comparison, my makeup routine is child’s play but it’s one I’m completely at ease with.
Personally, I do so much better working with less which is why I downsized a few years ago. Fewer items in my wardrobe, makes it easier for me to create combinations that I’ll actually wear.
Keeping it simple with versatile pieces is another rule I follow. For example, take the decorative headgear I’m wearing in the featured photo. It can be worn in several different ways not to mention it saves time on hairstyling.
Wigs, hats, scarfs, headwraps, are all, in my opinion, necessary accessories. They are also the easiest ways to create a quick fresh look.
There are two vintage flower twist pleated stretch turbans in today’s post, one black, and one silver. What makes these pieces versatile are the placement of the flower. You can wear it on the right, left, front or back of the head. I got these ones from Amazon and they have several different colors from which to choose. The sparkly threads add a little extra pizzazz.
The Third Quarter
Seeing as I’m now in the third quarter of my life, my time is more valuable than ever. While I take pride in my appearance it’s no longer the most important thing to me. So being able to look nice while saving time allows me more time for those things that take priority.
I think being protective of our time is the first step to making better choices in our lives. Once you realize what you are willing and not willing to allow into your life it’s freeing.
Saving Time In Fashionable Headwear Featured Image:
A four-panel collage of mirror selfies. There is one big photo where I’m wearing the black headwrap with gold threads an the flower is over my left ear. Three smaller photos show me in the silver one with the flower to the left, front and back of my head.