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Un Regard Pour Toi: a unique store dedicated to clothing for the visually impaired

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Why shouldn’t visually impaired people pay attention to their “look”? In a world doped with social networks which judge only on the external appearance, individuals deprived of sight are even more disabled. From this observation, the association “Un Regard Pour Toi” was created in 2014. In its wake, an eponymous clothing store for the visually impaired was launched in June 2019 in Paris. Listening to members’ needs, the association is also a melting pot of innovations: embroidered labels in Braille, NFC chips, and voice synthesis … there is no shortage of projects.

We visited this unique store in the Montparnasse neighborhood in Paris. This article is also a modest tribute to the efforts made by the 160 volunteers of the association to find solutions for visually impaired people.

Clothing at low prices thanks to the generosity of donors

Approximately 1200 references are proposed in the 80 m² store. The whole spectrum of clothing is covered thanks to donations, which allows offering clothes at very attractive prices.

Initiated in 2018, contacts were successful in 2020. Nearly 10% of these references come from a partnership with Galeries Lafayette. Galeries Lafayette offers some unsold items, which are then proposed with priority to the 300 members of the association. These new clothes are sold at a higher price than the rest of the pieces (between 2€ and 10€).

Un regard sur toi


A store adapted for the visually impaired

Created by Hayette Louail, herself visually impaired, the store could not help but offer a layout adapted to the visually impaired. A large red carpet provides a visual cue for customers who are not blind. Canes can be left at the entrance. All obstacles have been removed from the path. The racks are on the left, and the fitting rooms, larger than average, are on the right.

un regard sur toi

The large red carpet serves as a visual cue for the visually impaired.


Innovations to simplify the choice of clothing

What surprised us the most during the visit to the store was the innovative capacity of the association. Ingenious solutions are found for daily clothing problems. They are numerous: how to recognize a garment in a closet? What is the color of the garment I am about to wear? These questions are of no consequence to a sighted person but are insurmountable obstacles for a blind person.

Labels in Braille

étiquette brodée en braille (Un Regard Sur Toi)The first innovation is embroidered labels in Braille. The association proposes to embroider a word or a short sentence on labels which are then sewn into the clothes. On the day of our visit, an order was being realized for a member who wished to have a code embroidered to recognize his clothes.
But how can we help those who do not read Braille?


NFC chips and voice synthesis

The association has developed an in-house project of NFC chips that can be read (literally) thanks to a voice synthesis box. The chips are infinitely programmable. They are waterproof and can therefore be inserted into clothing.

boîtier synthèse vocale pour puces NFC (un regard sur toi)

This box allows to “read” the NFC chips and make the vocal synthesis of the information contained there. The box works thanks to “physical” buttons. The association “Un Regard Pour Toi” has developed this prototype internally. Particular attention was paid to the needs of visually impaired people

Self-adhesive labels are also available. They can, for example, contain information on the dosage or the expiration date (in the case of food). This system is also suitable for other uses, such as adding information to food or medicine boxes.

étiquettes NFC pour utilisation par des personnes malvoyantes (Un Regard Sur Toi)

These self-adhesive NFC labels can be affixed to boxes of medicines, food products, and be programmed. Thanks to the voice synthesis box, they can deliver information on the dosage, the expiration date, etc…

 

 

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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