SOUND OF STYLE
Loud and proud design for those with hearing loss
Although many have traditionally glossed over the concerns of consumers with disabilities during the design process, some brands are now proudly putting differences on display and celebrating consumers for all that they are. Rather than hiding hearing aids and cochlear implants, these designs allow consumers a chance to show their personality and feel proud of what makes them unique. Read below to learn about young designers, some with hearing loss themselves, who are transforming tradition and pushing the fashion industry forward in the name of representation, inclusivity, and disability positivity.
CHELLA MAN X PRIVATE POLICY
22-year-old Chella Man, an actor, YouTube influencer, and LGBTQ activist, recently collaborated with streetwear brand Private Policy on a jewelry collection for those with hearing aids or cochlear implants. Chella, who has profound hearing loss himself, explains, “The hope is for individuals within the deaf and hard of hearing communities to celebrate their own unique beauty and not be identified by a device they wear.” The bold, metallic accessories exude an attitude of originality and futuristic design, and can be worn by anyone, hearing or not, that wants to stand in solidarity with this community. Several of the designs sold out fast.
27-year-old Luke Christian says “it’s time deafness got recognized, spoken about and heard.” Christian, who is deaf himself, created the clothing and accessory collection to celebrate diversity and deaf culture in all its forms–sign language, oral communication, or children of deaf adults. Growing up, Christian says he “never had a deaf role model or a deaf group to identify with,” and now proudly features all deaf models in his campaigns. Featuring unisex clothing with bold logos and customizable text, his streetwear brand is much more than just an aesthetic that young consumers with hearing loss want–it also gives them a chance to be their authentic selves and feel part of a larger community.
Described as “wearable art,” Mimosa Handcrafted is just the right brand for anyone who loves DIY design. Their ASL, American Sign Language, charms aren’t just cute–they celebrate corners of culture traditionally forgotten about. These charms are all made by hand and available in bronze or sterling silver. Featured within Mimosa’s #GoodsforGood collection, 10% of sales go towards Deaf Focus, a non-profit organization based in Louisiana that is “helping to make a difference with and for the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing (DDBHH) community!”