Innovator

Balini Naidoo

“ I believe that what we do for ourselves dies with us, but what we do for others lives forever. ”

Millennial designer Balini Naidoo is a thoughtful, creative being whose clothing designs help blind people identify what they're putting on through an innovative braille identification system printed on the garment.

She explored designing braille identification for clothing that assists blind individuals in becoming more self-reliant when making clothing choices.

“Having a family member who is visually impaired has made me aware of the many struggles that are faced by the unsighted. Some difficulties include daily clothing identification and clothing choices made without assistance,” she said.

“In a South African context, I feel there is a gap in the market,” said Naidoo in a Durban University of Technology interview.

The 26-year-old innovator obtained a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) cum laude in fashion and textile design at DUT in 2017. Naidoo was chosen as one of the Top 10 designers in the Society of Dyers and Colourists 2015 competition. She was nominated for the top 25 Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Awards in 2016. Two years later, she was chosen to showcase her B.Tech concept at the Design Indaba Emerging Creative class.

Taunted from young due to her struggles with dyslexia, Naidoo has overcome challenges with a fierce tenacity and conviction. Her encouragement to youth is to maintain a positive outlook, always think big and never give up on their dreams.

Naidoo hopes that she will inspire more South African fashion designers and students to embrace the use of innovative designs for social responsibility in their practice. Presently she teaches free art, basic pattern construction and sewing classes to local communities.


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