Everyday Essentials: Dress

Everyday Essentials: Dress is a color-coordinating wardrobe solution for people with low vision that helps them match their clothing and dress in style. In 2018, I came up with a concept for my thesis project while pursuing a master’s degree in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont. 

Developing low vision is part of the natural aging process, and many of us may face it sooner or later. Though there are many great high-tech devices to help people with vision loss, there has not been enough attention given to applying accessible design when creating affordable, everyday products to benefit them. I designed an easy-to-follow color coordinating system that would make dressing easier for people who are blind and visually impaired. There are many creative ways, such as using safety pin and tags, to identify clothing colors for people with blind and visually impaired; unfortunately, there is no standard system. Smartphone apps and devices are great tools but they are costly, and users must have access to technology.

My color-coordinating wardrobe system requires no knowledge of colors nor expensive technology to use. Anyone who can identify four basic symbols can match their clothing and dress in style by themselves. This system breaks the color spectrum into four different groups and uses a symbol to represent each group. Staying within the colors belonging to a particular symbol helps the user dress in a color-coordinated wardrobe. The symbols are pinned to each item of clothing to help users easily identify matching items and create an outfit. 

During the focus group I conducted, it was remarkable to see how two blind people choose their own outfits, and the choice of colors came out harmoniously every time they dressed. A quote from a blind participant, who was born blind, resonated me deeply, “I never shopped on my own, and I feel like shopping—this is what normal people feel like.”

I hope to bring the product to market on a global level, so this simple and affordable design will help millions of people living with visual impairment and make their lives a little easier.

Client: Min Choi Graduate Thesis Project Role: MFA Candidate