Designer Tish Cox Sews Relationship with Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind
Acclaimed Dallas designer Tish Cox has signed an agreement with Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind to dedicate a segment of their blind and vision impaired workforce to the production of her chic fashion designs in what is believed to be the only enterprise between a fashion house and blind and visually impaired nonprofit organization of its kind.
With Cox’s production facility unable to keep pace with the increasing demand for her clothing line, the pressure to emulate most large fashion labels and take production out of the country became a reluctant consideration. “Having my line made here is very important to me,” Cox says. “Every piece I have produced has a label with ‘Made in Dallas, Texas’ printed on it.”
In May of this year, a most unexpected introduction was made and Cox’s line, and by her own admission, her life, will never be the same. After visiting Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind, the designer was inspired to consider bringing her production to the qualified hands of blind artisans. Cox, struggling to get the words out, says, “The relationship we have with Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind is so very special. To think that my clothing line will afford the Dallas Lighthouse opportunities to serve more of the vision impaired in North Texas is really the big news here and I am compelled to do this. I am so privileged and humbled to have this incredible opportunity.”
Tish Cox’s namesake clothing line was started in 2010 in her Dallas home by sewing 100 pieces herself on her kitchen island without a pattern maker or cut sheets. Serendipitously, one of her designs was admired by Vogue Magazine editor Andre Leon Talley and designer Zac Posen, which lead to Cox creating her own line. Demand for her chic custom clothing grew, orders ballooned, production expanded and her fashion fairy tale dreams became reality. She considers this unique symbiotic relationship with Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind an incredible transition to the next stage of her line’s growth and a breakthrough for the fashion industry overall.
“What an amazing opportunity to provide quality work for these talented individuals,” continued Cox. “And I have the added luxury of a local facility that I access routinely and where I have been welcomed by this unique and precious organization. Dallas Lighthouse’s workforce is skilled and dependable – its capabilities are amazing. These critical things are a very rare combination to find in this industry.”
As Cox completes details of her upcoming 2017 spring and fall designs, she forecasts her need for a production staff will increase dramatically to more than 80 artisans within five years, 75 percent or more of which will be blind or vision impaired.
“In addition to robotics, automation and LEAN assembly of various products at Dallas Lighthouse, its textile manufacturing capability is robust and geared for high output production,” said Hugh McElroy, CEO of Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind. “Unlike historic automation trends that often displace workers, Dallas Lighthouse’s mission is to grow jobs for the blind and vision impaired by training them to use specialized equipment that augments manual processes while increasing value and assured quality of the finished product.”
“The new agreement with TISHCOX is resulting in the creation of an adjacent 4,500-square-foot fashion garment center where TISHCOX creations will be produced by highly trained and qualified Lighthouse artisans who will soon transform raw material into beautiful fashion designs utilizing the latest equipment and adaptive technology of its kind,” said McElroy. “The estimated impact to the greater Dallas community is projected to be $76 million over the next five years as a result of this agreement.”
“When we met Tish Cox and learned that she needed a high growth facility to produce her designs we couldn’t believe how fortuitous this opportunity was for everyone involved,” continued McElroy. “It not only solved her manufacturing needs but provides skilled jobs for the community, a highly sustainable revenue stream for our organization that, combined with philanthropy, will support the economic transformation of our facilities into new horizons in the $3 trillion global textile sector.”
"For 85 years, Dallas Lighthouse has assisted many thousands of blind and vision impaired individuals of all ages with training, tools and resources to enhance their independence. With the national average unemployment rate for blind and vision impaired workers exceeding 60 percent and 30 percent of blind households in the United States living below the poverty line, our mission has never been more vital nor the stakes higher for all the blind and vision impaired residents of North Texas who need our help.”
Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind
Founded in 1931, the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind, a non-profit 501c3, focuses on improving and enhancing the lives and opportunities of individuals in North Texas affected by blindness. Our guiding principle is the belief that with knowledge, training and motivation, people with visual impairments can succeed and thrive in any workplace, live productive and meaningful lives, and be important contributors to their communities. For more information, visit www.dallaslighthouse.org.
Established in 2010, the fashion house was born at an event honoring Diane von Furstenberg where Tish Cox fashions were dubbed the most fashionable at the event. Shortly thereafter, production began in Dallas with over 165 designs having been produced since that time. Currently, TISHCOX can be purchased at Cabana: the boutique behind the purple door, located at 4711 W. Lovers Ln. Dallas, TX. In mid-2016 the evolution of design turns to the unique production of her fashion in conjunction with the artisans of the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind. Another first, and a breakthrough in how the fashion industry produces. For more information, visit @tishcox on Instagram or tishattishcox on Pinterest.