A blind woman from Stevenage is calling for greater representation of people with sight loss during London Fashion Week.

Siobhan Meade, a social media content creator, says people with sight loss are not often associated with the fashion industry.

The disability advocate is calling for greater representation of people with sight loss on the catwalk ahead of London Fashion Week, which launches on Friday.

Siobhan, 40, lost all her sight following an accident when she was 16.

The Comet: Siobhan has her own guide dog and works for sight loss charity Guide Dogs.Siobhan has her own guide dog and works for sight loss charity Guide Dogs. (Image: Guide Dogs)

She said: "As a blind woman, I firmly believe in the power of diversity and inclusion within the fashion industry.

"We must amplify the representation of those with vision impairments on the catwalk, demonstrating to the world that fashion transcends visual boundaries.

"Fashion is a universal language, one that resonates deeply with our shared human experience, celebrating the diverse ways we express our individuality.

"I envision a day when people like me can confidently walk down the catwalk, accompanied by our guide dogs, embodying the belief that fashion is not just an external expression, but also an inclusive space where everyone belongs.

"Beyond aesthetics, fashion and makeup hold significance in helping us feel good and confident, from compliments on our outfits to staying in line with current trends."

The Comet: Siobhan has been blind since she was 16 years old.Siobhan has been blind since she was 16 years old. (Image: Guide Dogs)

For Siobhan, fashion transcends visual aesthetics – she instead focuses on tactile experiences, texture, and the interaction of materials with the body.

Her process of selecting outfits involves a sensory exploration, emphasising comfort, functionality and self-expression over visual cues.

Siobhan, who works for sight loss charity Guide Dogs as a digital technology content officer, continued: "Navigating the fashion industry as a blind person comes with its unique set of challenges - from inaccessible shopping experiences, inaccessible websites with limited visual descriptions, to the limited availability of tactile fashion information.

"However, overcoming these obstacles has been empowering, pushing me to develop innovative strategies for selecting, pairing and enjoying fashion.

"It has also underscored the importance of inclusivity and accessibility within the fashion world, urging a shift towards more sensory-friendly design and shopping experiences, both in person and online.

“Working closely with Guide Dogs, I’m keen to shed light on the vibrant fashion sense within the visually impaired community and encourage a broader, more inclusive dialogue about fashion that celebrates diversity in all its forms.

"Using my platform to share my own story and insights, I hope to inspire a deeper understanding of how the visually impaired experience and interact with fashion, challenging conventional perceptions and opening the door to a more inclusive industry that embraces all ways of seeing - or not seeing - the world."

John Garrett, diversity, equity and inclusion advisor at Guide Dogs, said: "As we approach London Fashion Week, it's essential to shed light on the need for increased disability representation within the industry.

"People with sight loss are often overlooked in the world of fashion, not because they lack interest, but because the industry predominantly relies on visual aesthetics. It's time to challenge this misconception, and it’s great to see people like Siobhan sharing their experiences of fashion."

To find out more about the work Guide Dogs does in supporting those with vision impairments, visit guidedogs.org.uk.