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Aille Design offers clothing and accessories, such as this mask, embellished with Swarovski crystals that spell out messages in braille.

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Aille Design is a pioneer in creating fashion for those who identify as blind or visually impaired. Founded in Toronto by Alexa Jovanovic, Aille offers clothing and accessories embellished with Swarovski crystals that spell out messages written in braille. Some of the text describes details about a garment, such as fit, material, colour and washing instructions, and others are inspirational messages, such as “Fashion is for everyone.”

While out shopping one day, Jovanovic, then a student at Ryerson University, came across a beaded jacket that led to an a-ha moment. “I made the connection between the similarity and size of the small beads and braille,” she says. It led her to question if beading couldn’t have a functional, as well as aesthetic, purpose, an idea that became the focus of a school project. “Why couldn’t we move all of these beads a little bit so that you could have an actual message and it could completely empower an entire community of people?”

While developing her line, Jovanovic conducted interviews with potential customers to better understand the challenges they faced while dressing. Beyond having trouble identifying the clothing in their closets, they yearned to maintain their identity. “Socially, there are so many incorrect perceptions of what looking blind means,” Jovanovic says. “It doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t care what they look like. A lot of the time, fashion is about feeling. It’s feeling good about who you are and being able to represent your own identity.”

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Fashion Is for Everyone Braille T-Shirt, $60.

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Stay Warm Braille Scarf, $32.

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Chin Up Mask On Braille Mask Collaboration With Iloveyourmask, $25.

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