Australia’s first blind fashion designer inspires others through a new series

Posted 9 months ago by David McManus
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Nikki Hind wants you to know that you can be anything. [Source: Vision Australia]
Nikki Hind wants you to know that you can be anything. [Source: Vision Australia]

The new book, Dressed For Success, encourages Aussies to think big and realise their own potential!

Key points:

  • The theme for World Sight Day 2023 is employment, as advocates have called for vision screenings to be organised in workplaces
  • The Eye Health and the World of Work report found that over 90 percent of vision impairment cases are either preventable or treatable through existing, highly cost-effective interventions
  • Nikki Hind, Australia’s first blind fashion designer, is the focus of Vision Australia’s final instalment in the Big Visions book series

 

To celebrate World Sight Day 2023 this week, Vision Australia has released the final instalment of the Big Visions book series, which has aimed to inspire kids of all abilities to be whatever they want to be when they grow up.

Based on the accomplished lives of Australians with blindness or low vision, each book in the series is intended to alter people’s expectations of what a person with disability is capable of.

The book, released ahead of October 12, 2023, follows Nikki’s journey to become a fashion designer — defying the many hurdles she had to overcome through stigma and rejection.

Approximately 18 years ago, Nikki suffered a stroke and lost 50 percent of the field of vision in both of her eyes. Having been legally blind in her left eye since birth, the stroke left Nikki permanently legally blind.

“After suffering permanent vision loss due to a stroke, I was left shocked and wondering what to do,” Nikki said.

“Many doors that had previously been open for me were slammed shut and I was advised by medical professionals and others that pursuing a career in fashion design was not achievable for me.

“However, I thought back to how fashion made me feel when I was growing up; it transported me to a creative and happy place while giving me a sense of purpose. That’s a feeling that I wanted to reclaim, so I decided to pursue it despite what other people told me.”

Nikki enrolled in a TAFE course in fashion design to learn the skills she needed to bring her designs to life. After creating her first collection, producing photography and piecing together marketing materials — she knew she was on the right track.

Nikki’s journey, shared in Dressed for Success, exemplifies the potential of individuals with blindness or low vision, inspiring people all across Australia.

 

According to Vision Australia library services business manager Vildana Praljak, individuals with disabilities are frequently excluded from meaningful career opportunities from a young age.

“One of the most common questions a child is asked is what they want to be when they grow up. However, this same question is rarely posed to [a] child with a disability due to an assumption that they cannot achieve the same goals as their peers,” Vildana explained.

Vision Australia’s employment consultants can assist employers and staff with support on how they can welcome people from the blind and low-vision community into their workplaces.

58 percent of people who are blind or have low vision and want to work are unemployed — compared to a 14 percent unemployment rate in the wider Australian population

“Like others with disability, Nikki has gone on to have a successful career in a field of her choice […] she wants others to know about it so they can believe they can do the same,” Vildana said.

The organisation has estimated that there are approximately 453,000 people in Australia who are blind or have low vision, with that number projected to grow to 564,000 by 2030.

To pick up a copy of Dressed for Success visit the Vision Australia website to place an order. 

 

What does World Sight Day 2023 mean for you and have you faced a work-related eye injury? What would you like to see change in the realm of disability employment? Let the team at Talking Disability know!