October 10th marked World Mental Health Day, a day that strives for awareness of the importance of looking after our mental health whilst helping others that struggle daily. According to the World Health Organisation, one in four people in the world will be affected with some form of mental or neurological problem in their life. Around 450 million people currently suffer from these conditions, making mental disorders one of the leading causes of ill-health worldwide. So what does this have to do with the fashion industry? Fashion stands as the main platform from which people can express themselves without the need to speak. Clothes have a powerful way of showing our emotions without us having to even open our mouths. Therefore many designers have taken it upon themselves to use clothing as a way to create awareness for such a prevalent issue in the 21st Century.
1.WEAR YOUR LABEL
‘Its okay not to be okay’ is the tagline of Wear Your Label, a conscious clothing line created by two friends that suffer from mental illness themselves. After being interviewed by Buzzfeed in 2015, the brand exploded onto the fashion market and is still as popular today. With no gender category on the website, anybody can buy the endless supply of graphic tees ordained with quotes such as ‘your body is not the enemy‘, ‘sad but rad‘ and ‘stressed but well dressed‘.
“One in five people suffer from mental illness, but five in five people have mental health. We’re designing clothes that everyone can relate to,” said Reed, Owner of Wear Your Label.
2. MAISON DE CHOUP
Born from George Hodgson’s fight with his crippling anxiety, Maison De Choup is a range of T-Shirts and Hoodies branded with slogans to help raise awareness for mental health problems. Even better, 25% of their profits from the newest collection ‘Warrior’ (Pictured above) was donated to ‘Young minds’, a charity run by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to help people with mental health problems.
However, even though many brands using their popularity to raise awareness for mental illness is seen to be positive in the eyes of many; others disagree. When scrolling through social media such as Twitter, many believe that using fashion to raise awareness for mental illness is allowing people to think that having a mental illness is just another ‘trend’. When researching the issue further, many angry bloggers that suffered from mental illness had taken it upon themselves to write powerful messages about their own suffering.
“For some reason though, people want to use depression as a fashion statement. Some people say their occasional sadness over normal, sad things is “depression.” People try to make sad an aesthetic. They’re taking aesthetically pleasing things and adding on the word “sad” and calling that depression.”
This therefore leads to the question: Is fashion creating a trend out of mental illness? Or are they using their brand status for something much more positive?