Guest : Balini Naidoo | Fashion and Textile Designer at Balini
If your clothes could talk, what would they say? Designer Balini Naidoo believes an
outfit can do more than make a statement. Naidoo’s uncle is visually impaired, and she
realised he struggled to identify his clothing. Choosing what to wear and reading the
size and wash care details on a label can be a challenge for people who can’t see.
“Fashion should be inclusive,” Naidoo says. So she began creating garments which
enable people to become more self-reliant. With her range of braille apparel, she’s
altering the industry.
In 2018, Naidoo founded her eponymous line, Balini, designing clothes with a braille
identification system printed on them. Each item has a pattern of raised blocks,
explaining what would typically go on the label as well as the colour and style. The
garments are also reversible, making them easier to wear. Naidoo’s range is as
fashionable as it is practical, keeping to a minimalist aesthetic and soft tones. With a
degree in Fashion and Textiles from Durban University of Technology, she’s determined
to thread social responsibility into her work.
For each purchase, Naidoo donates a percentage of the profit to the Cape Town Society
for the Blind, ensuring empowerment on multiple levels. Her innovative creations prove
that fashion can have a tremendous impact, while sending a message to other
designers. “Continue thinking out of the box and address social challenges that are
close to you,” Naidoo says. She’s the only person in South Africa creating clothing
especially for people who are visually impaired. As Naidoo redefines the possibilities of
her craft, she’s transforming lives. Inclusivity looks good on everyone.