#AerieREAL Changemaker Wren Blae Zimmerman, a blind equestrian show jumper, is putting our OFFLINE by Aerie pieces to the test! In honor of Low Vision Awareness Month, Wren is sharing her thoughts on visual impairment inclusivity and how the new OFFLINE collection makes her feel. 

Check out Wren’s looks and hear what all she has to say in the Q&A below, where she shares more about her story and her advice for other visually impaired individuals.  

What is Low Vision Awareness Month and its significance within the disability community? 

Low Vision Awareness Month serves to raise awareness about, and increase knowledge of, visual impairment, low vision, and blindness. National months of recognition are so important within the disability community, because they open up conversations, call attention to important issues, educate and can help to connect people with beneficial resources. 

When were you diagnosed with Stargardt’s macular dystrophy and how has it changed your everyday life? 

I was diagnosed with Stargardt’s macular dystrophy at age 17, when I was a senior in high school. Losing my eyesight has changed almost every single aspect of my everyday life. Daily tasks that are simple for most, have become incredibly difficult; things like reading and shopping. I can’t drive, so I’ve lost a lot of independence because of this. Social situations are also difficult. I can’t see people’s faces, so I have difficulty recognizing people, as well as social cues and body language. These are just a few of the main things!  

How has feel and fabric composition impacted the way you shop for clothing? 

Feel and fabric composition are so important to me when I shop for clothing! Because I can’t actually see what a clothing item will look like on me, I mostly choose my clothing based on fabric and feel. I’ve learned how different fabrics move and fall. And can decipher (for the most part) if the item will flatter my body-type and move well with me based on the material.  

I’m also very particular about the texture and feel of fabric against my skin and tend to go for soft or silky feeling pieces. Being able to move freely in a piece of clothing is most important to me!  

“To anyone facing any sort of challenge, know that you are not alone in your struggles and in how you are feeling!”

#AERIEREAL CHANGEMAKER Wren blae zimmerman

What do you love most about each piece? 

Jogger: I love how soft these joggers are! 

Leggings: My favorite thing about this legging is the mesh panel on the side, which keeps you cool and comfortable while working out. They are the perfect legging because the material is both thick and stretchy enough. 

Sports bra and shorts: My favorite thing about this set is the silky, stretchy, super lightweight material. I also love the print! 

Which OFFLINE piece is your favorite and why? 

My favorite OFFLINE piece is the jogger! I love the OFFLINE Jogger because the material is so soft, but not too heavy. They are the softest joggers I’ve ever felt! The fabric is lightweight enough to be worn during warmer weather, but cozy enough for the colder months too. 

How does the fabric of each piece make you feel? 

Jogger: The jogger fabric makes me feel like I’m wearing a silky cozy hug! 

Legging: The fabric of these leggings makes me feel like I’m wearing a second skin. 

Sports bra and short set: The fabric of this set is so lightweight that it makes me feel like I’m almost not wearing anything. It makes me feel free! 

What advice do you have for others who are facing vision impairment or blindness? 

The most important piece of advice I would give to others who are facing visual impairment or blindness is that, just because you might do something in a different way than others (and it might take you longer, or be more difficult to do), doesn’t mean you can’t do it! I’d also say that it’s ok to be angry, sad, scared, frustrated, etc., but don’t let those feelings take over your life! To anyone facing any sort of challenge, know that you are not alone in your struggles and in how you are feeling! 

We hope you enjoyed Wren’s story and are inspired by her determination! Which OFFLINE by Aerie pieces make you feel your best, Aerie Fam? Share in the comments!  

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