Advocates ask fashion industry to support braille clothing tags; talking Web site

Imagine coordinating your wardrobe in the dark. Its not something Armani, Prada or Fendi think about when designing clothes. For them, a little black dress speaks for itself and doesnt need a safety pin or special tag for description.

Yet, every morning, millions of blind or visually impaired people reach into their closets to read the Braille-embossed aluminum tags sewn into their clothes or the coding system of safety pins theyve devised to identify their garments.

Two women who met as students at Rochester Institute of Technology want to give the blind and visually impaired community more independence in choosing their wardrobe and more confidence when dressing for success.

Jaimen Brill and Asmah Abushagur are in the process of forming the non-profit organization White Cane Label to help the blind and visually impaired shop for clothing and coordinate their outfits. They are advocating for an interactive, talking Web site and standardized, Braille-embossed clothing tags made of cloth, not aluminum, to be sewn onto all garments.

The user-friendly Web site will include a questionnaire to gauge personal style, clothing recommendations and detailed descriptions of each item in different styles and price ranges. The Braille clothing labels will include three symbols indicating the brand, color and coordinating style for mixing and matching individual pieces. A second label will include washing instructions in Braille.

Brill and Abushagur chose the name for their organization based on White Cane Day, or Oct. 15, the annual day of awareness in the United States for issues facing the blind.

The day is named for the familiar white cane used by millions of people.

If White Cane Day is the only single day that exists for them, then White Cane Label is pretty obvious, says Brill, who graduated in May from RIT with a bachelors degree in advertising and public relations.

This is a new idea; its

Contact: Susan Gawlowicz
Rochester Institute of Technology

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