Fashion Magazine Makes History with a Braille Edition

Making fashion more inclusive.


Woman reading an issue of Vogue.

(Dean Drobot /

Fashion magazines usually mean grand photoshoots showcasing models with colorful, eye-catching clothing in unique patterns and textures. But, imagine a fashion magazine without a single picture in it. 

British Vogue, the UK’s foremost fashion magazine is making history by doing just that, making copies of the magazine available in pictureless braille and audio formats to cater to fashionistas with visual impairments, reports The Guardian.

Vogue’s first all-braille issue
Selma Blair is best known for her acting career (she starred in Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde), but she’s also known as a disability advocate. in the issue, British Vogue interviews Blair about her struggles with multiple sclerosis in their May 2023 edition. The actress also features on the magazine’s cover. 

Vogue featuring her story on their front cover wasn’t an accident, but rather a sign of the fashion magazine’s commitment to disability inclusion. Not only did the May 2023 edition feature Blair’s story, along with a number of other celebrities with disabilities, it was also the first ever edition of Vogue produced in braille as well.

Yahoo Life shares that Edward Enninful, the former editor-in-chief of the well-known magazine, announced the new format in an Instagram post that has since garnered more than 40,000 likes.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Edward Enninful, OBE (@edward_enninful)

“For the first time in @britishvogue’s history,” Enninful’s post reads, “I am pleased to share that the magazine is now available in Braille, for blind and partially sighted people. The Vogue team and I are delighted by the response to the May issue, but what the process of making it taught us is that what's most important are tangible and lasting changes.”

According to Vogue’s website, people with visual impairments can also access an audio file of the magazine edition, in addition to a braille version.

Edward Enninful
Vogue’s move towards greater accessibility mirrored Eninnful’s experiences and his values, according to The Guardian. Enninful, a Ghana immigrant, is himself visually-and-hearing impaired. He tells The Guardian, “I’ve had five retinal detachments, I’m partially blind and my hearing is less than 50 percent…It’s never stopped me, but there are so many people with invisible disabilities who never talk about it, because it might hinder them.”

“We always talk about diversity and inclusivity, but that also has to extend to our disabled brothers and sisters,” he added.

The issue’s reception
Vogue’s inclusive May spread and its accessible new formats have been warmly praised by people with disabilities and by disability advocates, according to Yahoo Life.

Kim Charlson, Perkins School for the Blind’s library director tells Yahoo Life that the move “makes information available to us that probably other people kind of take for granted. 

“It's just giving us access to trends and fashion and design that I think a lot of people believe blind and low vision people aren't particularly interested in. But that's not true because we want to be sure we understand what everybody else is doing.”

Virginia Jacko, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s CEO says that fashion and access to fashion information is important to those with visual impairments. 

“People with disabilities have to learn how to fit into a sighted world,” she said. “We don't want to be sticking out because we're wearing, you know, chartreuse blouses in an old-fashioned style, or whatever. So fashion is important.”

As far as Vogue’s move, Natalie Trevonne, a blend fashion designer and accessibility consultant, says that the new formats are a good start, but there’s still a lot more to do. She shares, “I just hope that they go beyond that and start including more blind and low vision folks in front of the camera and in more fashion brand campaigns.” 

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