Popsugar - Sarah Wasilak - Blind Fashion Designer Natalie Trevonne Just Launched Her Own Brand

Popsugar - Sarah Wasilak - Blind Fashion Designer Natalie Trevonne Just Launched Her Own Brand

"When I first met Natalie Trevonne, she was working in consulting and moonlighting as a writer eager to share her frustrations with the fashion industry. Trevonne, 33, began her journey as a legally blind woman at age 18, following struggles with corrective surgery after being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She went on to report about the ways in which online shopping lacks in accessibility for POPSUGAR in 2021, and about the poor audio description in popular fashion TV shows the following year. In 2023, she wrote about her experience walking in an inclusive, all-blind runway show. Meanwhile, she was preparing to launch her own brand, NYI, which stands for Not Your Inspiration.

After working with Ernest Spicer, the company's CTO and designer, on an NFT wedding dress (shown at the first-ever Meta Fashion Week), the two put their heads together to create a clothing brand that Trevonne felt was missing from the physical world. For her, that meant creating pieces with creative embellishments and emphasizing texture, hence the slogan "Style You Can Touch."

"Take the disability out of it. Would I still be inspirational? If not, then maybe it's not the compliment that you think it is."

"As a blind woman, I identify my clothes through textures, so we're playing with a lot of fun fabrics, like we have silks and lace and leather and corduroy. We have this really sexy tweed dress," Trevonne explained when she guest-starred on my podcast, "Dinner for Shoes," in December. "[We're] really modernizing some classic textures and being able to feel them, so that when you do go into your closet, you're like, 'OK, this is NYI.'" Trevonne further elaborated on why texture is key for the blind community, and how it differentiates her label from others. "For a blind person, we can't have 10 cotton shirts, we're not gonna know what's what," she said. "I have a tweed skirt from Zara that I love, and I know it's red because it's my tweed Zara skirt. So I'm adding the color to the texture so I never forget." Trevonne hopes her customers will be able to do the same with her inventory.

Days ahead of New York Fashion Week, she introduced her first drop to the East Coast at an intimate showing among family, friends, brand supporters, editors, and influencers. I was honored to lead an interview segment and discussion about NYI's long-term goals, one of which is an advocacy branch called Access Chicks, which will foster community by inviting those with disabilities to in-person sessions where they can learn about fashion and beauty from industry insiders. Trevonne knows how meaningful these NYI-hosted events will be for folks who aren't as familiar with cultivating personal style and may have questions they don't normally feel comfortable asking in other settings — while shopping, for instance."



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