I’m proudly living with hearing loss, and know that I’m able to achieve anything even with my deafness. I’ve seen more and more products allowing deaf people to show the world that being deaf is cool, including Louder Jewlery.
Recently I came across these T-shirts on Instagram from an up-coming fashion brand, ‘Deaf Is Cool.’ I had the chance to interview the founder, Andre.
Ellie: Hi Andre, it’s so great to interview you! Can you tell us more about this new fashion brand for deaf awareness?
Andre: I set up ‘Deaf Is Cool’ because my deaf daughter Meaka is a big fan of fashion and visual arts. Our aim is to show the world that being deaf is no hindrance to creativity, and if anything it enhances it. We also desire to show the world that being deaf is COOL and we wanted to create a brand that depicted this message visually through fashion.
“We desire to show the world that being deaf is COOL”
Ellie: Fascinating! What inspires the designs and ideas?
Andre: The designs are inspired mostly by sign language, as it’s such a beautiful, artistic and expressive language. Also, designs are influenced through art, social issues and cues, collaboration with my daughter and messages we want to send to the world. An example is our deaf heart design, based on inclusion. We want to see inclusion happen in our society and in schools, as we fight for better inclusion for the deaf community as whole. Hopefully, this design raises awareness of that.
“We want to see inclusion happen in our society and in schools, as we fight for better inclusion for the deaf community as whole.”
Ellie: For your photo shoots, do you use deaf models, if so why is it important, especially with the #deaftalent movement?
Andre: We mostly use deaf models. This is very important to us as a brand as we would like to give deaf models a platform to showcase their talent. We would like the people within the deaf community to know that fashion is for all. If we can be a vehicle that helps the industry move this direction, then we have achieved one of our goals as a brand. It is imperative that the #deaftalent movement gets more platforms in terms of art and expression, which is a massive part of our ethos.
“We would like the people within the deaf community to know that fashion is for all…”
We have also used hearing models. The hearing models we have used so far are people who want to help to make a difference in the deaf community. They also believe in our mission, ‘Deaf is cool,’ which brings great inclusion and cool fashion for all. Sometimes we photograph hearing models, like my fiancé who is an amazingly supportive, beautiful, talented and inspiring woman. She is a massive part of why we are where we are today and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her.
Ellie: Are there any famous or well-known people who have worn your products?
Andre: We have been lucky to have a few famous people wear our brand. Wayne, Curtis Davis (England and Darby county footballer) Denyque (international recording artist, radio personality and model), and yourself are among them! We were also featured in a video by the cast of STOMP: The Musical.
Ellie: Haha! Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Andre: The brand Deaf is Cool is inspired by my beautiful daughter Azara Ferguson. She lost her hearing at the age of one, and is the reason we exist. Through her struggles in early life, the brand was born. We aim to tell the story and spread the message of inclusion and deaf pride for all.
“We aim to tell the story and spread the message of inclusion and deaf pride for all.”
Through fashion we hope to show the world that being deaf is cool. We aim to give hearing people a glimpse into the world of the deaf community, but we also want to give the deaf community a brand that they can call their own.
Ellie: That’s lovely, I hope you go far!