SENS X Details
Innovation and ingenuity are the main driving concepts behind SENSE X. With such a niche market as blind and visually impaired people, however, creative ideation should account for both general usability and functionality of each and every detail.
This gallery allows a thorough observation of all finishes in SENSE X, along with a brief explanation of purpose and functionality, in order to achieve full clarity on how exactly each detail can help blind and visually impaired people be more independent in creating a personal style.
Outfit one, a handmade reversible dress, provides the user with comfortable panels, running down the body, in order to ease movement. Each of the 18 panels of the dress is made of soft mohair or tactile wool knit, which are both double-sided. The panels are hand-stitched to one another, using alpaca thread, or attached with a hand-knitted piece. The dress provides a reversible pocket for storage.
The zig-zag finishing of the hem provides the same clean look for the inside and outside of the dress, aiding its reversibility. There is a handmade brass label, attached, revealing the YE brand logo in relief.
Pure wool is known to retain good smells (such as perfumes and this amazing natural body smell!). This means products made of wool smell good for longer, as wool cleans itself. These antibacterial qualities allow the user to wash woolen garments less, easing the care for products and reducing the environmental impact.
Double-sided braille embroidery on the right sleeve provides a brief description of the garment, in order to help match the dress with other garments.
A tactile clutch bag for extra storage. The materials for the bag are kindly provided by Kvadrat.
Composition of the bag: wool and steel with a leather ring on the inside. Construction: hand-stitched.
Outfit two consists of a tactile coat and a lace dress with a soft lining. The coat has a long vent, starting just above the waist and is lined with pure silk for comfort and softness. The outside of the coat is anti-creasing, antibacterial and abrasion-resistant, so that blind and visually impaired users don’t have to care about the fabric creasing or wearing out without them knowing.
The back flap and belt are decorated with 3D illustrations, readable for blind users.
A 3D ceramic button decorates each sleeve. This adds up to the tactile feel of the coat, making it so exciting to explore. A short braille description is provided on the sleeve. It is hand-embroidered with beads by Tabitha Buckley.
Embroidered flowers decorate the fine lace, which is lined with super soft creme lining, laser-cut, in order to reduce rubbing of the seams against the skin. Small braille plates with garment description decorate the bottom hem.
A reversible sweater and tactile trousers are the building blocks of outfit three. Just like every look in this collection, they are paired together using braille labels in the same shape (triangle in this case). Their function is to help matching garments through shape but additionally, they provide a quick description of the piece they are attached to. This means users could easily match them with any other garments they might already have.
The signature branding in relief is also attached to each garment. The process of creating such a plate is long, starting from CAD-ing up the design, printing it onto a special transparent sheet, and exposing it onto brass. The chemical etching into the metal has two stages and takes hours, depending on the intricacy of the design. Finally, each plate individually is separated from the others, cleaned and polished (multiple times). All of the braille labels, as well as the branding ones, are created by Elitsa Dobreva and myself with the immense help and dedication of Becky Haughton, a senior technician in printmaking for Falmouth University, who was kind enough to share her experiment outcomes with both of us.
Composition of outfit three: Trousers – tactile stretch jacquard (right and reversed side both used), silk; Sweater – mohair, tactile wool, alpaca.
All 18 panels of the sweater are connected by hand. This image provides a detailed representation of a hand-knitted piece, made of alpaca, which is used to hold two of the panels together. The reverse side of all panels is connected the same way.
This image provides a comparison between both methods – hand stitching, and connection through knitted pieces. Both these methods are used on the inside and outside of the sweater, making it completely reversible.
Both sleeves are joined together the same way, which means that no machinery has been used to create this piece (same applies to the dress in outfit one). Relying purely on manual labor (with the generous help of Elitsa Dobreva) makes these two garments environmentally friendly and unique.
This series of images portrays visually the reversible qualities of the sweater.
Outfit four attends to blind and visually impaired women’s desire to feel attractive and feminine. Generally, this collection aims to escape the established perception of clothing for disability. This piece, in particular, is the loudest representation of this idea, using a bold feminine silhouette, revealing the whole back.
An elasticated strap holds the dress together. Attached to it is an additional braille plate with dressing instructions, in order to indicate where this strap should go.
Shoelaces are used as straps, which provides a modern approach to the classic sexy silk dress. All trims for this dress are kindly supplied by WASA Sweden.
Composition of outfit four: 100% silk, shoelaces, 3D dye.
Outfit four uses reflective straps for increased visibility.
Tactile paint subtly decorates the hem of the dress. A clutch bag made of tactile wool brings in texture to the outfit. Composition and make of the clutch bag: same as outfit one. Materials for the bag are provided by Kvadrat.