The world went rogue when the COVID pandemic (a disease that spreads worldwide) hit us back in 2020. People changed how they lived, conducted businesses, communicated, and did groceries. They made whatever changes the need of the hour was for us to navigate through the chaos of the virus.
However, as a side effect of that pandemic, a lot of people were dealing with another. Yet, most of us don’t even know about it. This pandemic didn’t give you the flu or fever but was just as life-threatening. It’s none other than mental illness.
Beyond the year 2020, there has been a 27.6% increase in the cases of major depressive disorder worldwide. And an increase of 25.6% in cases of general anxiety disorder globally. Most of these are women and young adults, according to Mental Health America 2021 statistics. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? But everyone is at risk. Stats from last year show that almost 20% of adults are battling a mental illness.
Due to this increasing ignorance around mental illnesses, it’s more important than ever to raise awareness for mental health. This is where different brands and their philosophy come in. Some of the most important are clothing brands that partner with organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
What’s Fashion Got To Do With It?
Fashion brands have evolved beyond mere apparel providers. They can now actively engage in raising awareness on essential social issues. Clothing is common to all genders and ages. So, if clothing brands take the initiative to talk about something, they are more likely to reach a wider audience.
How Exactly Clothing Brands Help Mental Health
Clothing brands can help promote mental health awareness, initiate conversations, and advocate for mental well-being. Numerous clothing labels have recently emerged as advocates for mental health issues, emphasizing the significance of self care and support.
Here’s how these brands help forward the cause of mental health awareness:
- Raising Awareness
Fashion brands often use their influence and reach to raise awareness about mental health issues. Through their thoughtful designs, campaigns, and collaborations, they bring attention to the significance of mental health.
This helps reduce the stigma around it and allows more people to be accepting of it. Campaigns run across multiple media sources so the message goes just as wide.
- Donating Proceeds
Many brands pledge to dedicate a portion of their sales or profits to mental health charities or organizations. This way, they’re killing two birds with one stone.
Firstly, they’re raising awareness for mental illnesses through this campaign. Secondly, they actively contribute financial support to mental health resources and services by donating proceeds from specific product lines.
- Spreading Positive Messages
Brands often create clothing that directly promotes their message through their clothes. They do so by creating articles that feature uplifting messages, positive affirmations, or symbols related to mental health.
Wearing these items helps spread positivity and promotes self care, serving as a reminder for individuals to take care of their mental well-being. It also takes away from the idea of mental health being taboo.
- Encouraging Self Care
Some brands design clothing tailored for comfort and relaxation, promoting self care and mindfulness. You might have heard the taglines “perfect for your self care Sunday” or “feels like a warm hug”.
These clothing articles are usually comfortable, cozy, and warm. They’re designed to contribute to one’s mental well-being. Promoting the idea that you should prioritize your mental health and do things that serve you well.
- Using Fashion as a Tool for Expression
A lot of mental health issues are rooted in the fact that individuals are forced to conform to society’s idea of perfection. They feel like they can’t express themselves how they want, leading to internal turmoil.
Expressive clothing allows individuals to express their emotions, identity, and experiences more openly. These could be clothing lines designed with mental health themes or important social issues such as trans rights, body positivity, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. They offer a means for people to express their struggles, triumphs, and solidarity more easily. This freedom to express themselves can work wonders for individuals.
Now, let’s delve into the impactful efforts of several clothing brands committed to championing mental health awareness.
Beyond Fashion, Towards A Good Cause
Now that we’ve talked about how apparel and fashion campaigns can shed light on mental health concerns and offer support (which is something research supports). Let’s discover the brands that have taken the initiative towards this cause and are striving for mental wellness. These brands are making a positive impact with their clothing line.
Unveiling Fashion Brands Leading the Way
- DeMellier: The founder of DeMellier, Mireia Llusia Lindh, has always advocated for ethical and sustainable manufacturing. They launched the ‘Soul tote’ in collaboration with Fong Ming Lio. Proceeds from the soul tote go to a non-profit organization called ‘Peers’ that works on peer-based wellness strategies supporting mental health care.
- Madhappy: This clothing brand started as a home-based small t-shirt company. They grew to establish a non-profit, The Madhappy Foundation, and now make thousands of sales through pop-ups all over the country. They have aimed to initiate conversations about mental health through their collections. A portion of their sales goes towards The Madhappy Foundation, which works with mental health organizations to provide resources to under-represented groups.
- Leret Leret: This company crafts luxury knitwear with uplifting graphics around mental health awareness. 25% of all their sales to The Loveland Foundation. This foundation helps fund therapy for women of color and for girls that need support.
- The Mayfair Group: The brand thoughtfully designs loungewear and comfortable clothes that often feature messages around mental health. Their idea is to make the world of social media less toxic and steer it toward a more fulfilling medium. So, along with clothes, they also spread their message of positivity through their social media platforms. Mayfair Group often partners with organizations supporting mental health causes. Recently, they pledged over $10,000 to The Mental Health Coalition and Active Minds in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. The CEO, Sam Abrahart, launched The Mayfair Group in 2017.
- Sadire: The founder, Daniel Hoban, has struggled with depression in the past. Through his “The Great Indoors” collection, he aims to bring comfortable loungewear to people undergoing similar struggles as him. He has also pledged 10% of the net profits to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- Own Your Stigma: The mental health awareness brand is better known by the slogan “Be kind to your mind.” They craft loungewear and athleisure with messages aiming to surface conversations around mental health conditions without the associated shame. They also advocate for mental health on their social media platforms. They donate to several organizations that work for mental health provision in line with their work.
- The Local Love Club: Cute, Luxury athleisure that supports a good cause? This brand does just that! Founded by the celebrity stylist Maeve Reilly, the brand is designed with positive messages that promote mental health. As a victim of bullying and virtual harassment, Maeve aims to endorse the importance of being nice to each other.
- Happiness Project: Like their brand name, they aim to spread happiness. They have a collection of the most adorable sweatshirts, t-shirts, and hoodies that come in the cutest pastels! Most of them have adorable minimalist designs that everyone has a taste for. The best part? 15% of all their profits go towards The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Jake Lavin founded the brand in honor of his friend Nick, who lost his battle with mental illness. While he is sadly not around anymore, Jake wants to ensure the next person like him is.
Dress For Wellness
Not only are these brands working to normalize conversations around mental health, but they are also actively partaking in work helping those in need. Others support initiatives like the Trevor Project and the JED Foundation.
As a consumer, they are helping you by letting you advocate for mental health in your way (while you look cute). And as a business owner, they donate to people helping victims of mental illness.
In conclusion, these fashion brands don’t just serve the mundane purpose of making and selling clothes; they are making a change in a world where mental health is still not as prioritized as it needs to be.
So, the next time you’re looking for a new pair of shoes, consider these brands and make your purchase worthwhile.
In a crisis? Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a volunteer Crisis Counselor