BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When we’re window shopping, it’s all about what you see, but diving deeper, fashion is so much more. It’s about texture, material, meaning and for one new local brand, accessibility.
“We’re trying to build a platform to truly bring accessibility into fashion at the mainstream level,” said Alexa Jovanovic, founder of Aille design.
Aille (pronounced like eye) comes from the French verb ‘aller’ which means “to move forward”. Jovanovic believes inclusivity is the direction the fashion industry needs to move forward in. It all started as a research project.
“I kind of had this aha! moment. Why couldn’t we arrange all of these beads ever so slightly to make a beautiful jacket that had empowering messages,” Jovanovic asked herself.
You can find messages like, “fashion is for everyone” and “diversity includes disability” written in braille on her clothing. Designed with help from members of the visually impaired community.
“You may see it in restaurants or some signs, but you probably don’t know what it is, so when you see it on a shirt, it’s like, ‘hey what’s that,'” said Jordan Bursie, who lost his vision to glaucoma at age 19.
Jovanovic collaborates with VIA, Visually Impaired Advancement, in Buffalo to design more than just clothes.
“Our hangers are completely customizable so whether it’s brailling your name or something specific that will help you identify a piece,” said Jovanovic.
Clothes also have QR codes that include accessible instructions on how to care for your clothes. It’s changing the way Ray Zylinski thinks about fashion.
“What I’ll get asked a lot is, ‘you’re visually impaired, what do you care what you look like?’” said Zylinski.
He says he’s used to people making accommodations for him, but with Aille Design, it’s different because it was thought of in the foreground.
Aille Design’s newest piece is their blue dress, designed by 10 visually impaired women, with braille that describes their perspective on the color blue. It’s a product that took more than two years to design and make.
“Because fashion is for everyone and it’s time that our industry knows it,” said Jovanovic.
To check out their online shop, click here.
Story by: Taylor Epps, WKBW