British Vogue has released a braille edition of its magazine for the first time in the publication’s 107-year history.
The issue, which is released this month, is also being made available in audio format as a means of increasing accessibility to people who are blind or partially sighted.
The publication’s editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, wrote on Instagram: “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.
“Vogue and the fashion and publishing industries have a great deal to do still, but it makes me very happy to see the arrival of these first braille issues today.”
The title of the issue is “Reframing Fashion,” and as a whole it will focus on disability justice, accessibility, and pride.
Tilting the Lens is an accessibility and inclusion consultancy company that worked with British Vogue on the issue. The company is well known for working as an advisor for brands like Netflix and Starbucks on how to make their businesses more disability-friendly. The edition features 19 disabled individuals from fashion, sport, activism, and the arts.
There will be five covers available for the special issue, each of which will highlight an influential disabled activist or prominent public figure, such as actor Selma Blair and consultant editor Sinéad Burke.
Enninful recently spoke to the media about his own experiences with having an invisible disability.
“I’ve had five retinal detachments, I’m partially blind and my hearing is less than 50% – I’m wearing hearing aids now. It’s never stopped me, but there are so many people with invisible disabilities who never talk about it, because it might hinder them. I’ve never had that fear,” he explained.
“When I’m reading, it’s still difficult: when I’m doing interviews, I have to ask people to talk at a certain level. But these are things that are me; these are things that I’ve embraced. We always talk about diversity and inclusivity, but that also has to extend to our disabled brothers and sisters.”
Individuals will have the opportunity to receive an audio file and the ability to print a braille file of the issue from their own home for free, as well as register to be sent a physical braille copy of the issue.
Enningful was initially made editor-in-chief in 2017, and from the beginning has promoted his message and goals of increasing inclusivity and diverse representation in fashion. He’s turned down advertising from major fashion brands during his time with British Vogue due to their vision’s not aligning with his desire to increase inclusivity.
Enninful was also awarded an OBE for his services and work to implement more diversity in the fashion industry.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.