Fashion Designer, Balini Naidoo believes that fashion is not only about creating clothes that are trendy but is an opportunity for her to address social challenges that are close to her heart. Whilst studying fashion and textile at the Durban University of Technology in 2014, when she noticed how a distant uncle with failing eyesight battled to choose his clothes without help. Her Uncle’s dilemma inspired her to do something to help people in a similar predicament.
This is why she established her fashion line called Balini because she wanted the clothes to appeal to everyone, therefore she designed them with the visually impaired people in mind. “The clothes I create have a braille identification system to help people who are visually impaired choose their own outfits,” she explained.
As part of her studies, she started working very closely with the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society, which helped her to read, understand and translate braille. The braille identification system provides information on the colour and size of the clothing item, as well as details on how to care for it. Her garments can also be worn in reverse. She attended Design Indaba, where she was chosen as one of the emerging designers to showcase her creation. The young received positive feedback because her clothing line was targeting visually impaired people specifically which was considered as rare.
Naidoo’sjourney to becoming an accredited fashion Designer was not a walk in the park because she had dyslexia which had an effect on her academic career. “It was difficult for me to get my lecturers to understand my research topic for my BTech. Conceptualizing it was difficult but at the end of the day, I graduated cum laude,” she said.