Having just come out of Mental Health Awareness week in the UK, and with the US still in the middle of Mental Health Awareness month, it’s top of mind for everyone how they can best look after their mental well-being.
While this time encourages individuals to assess their lifestyles and habits, and develop new and evolving ways in which to help boost their emotional well-being, it’s a challenge some companies have taken upon themselves as well.
Fast fashion and increasing pressures for perfection within the world of social media can take its toll on a person’s mental health, so some fashion brands are taking a stand, and pushing forward to help support initiatives supporting mental health awareness.
Launched in 2017 Madhappy is an LA based clothing brand of sportswear comprising of bright, uplifting prints and encouraging slogans. Since their creation, the brand has created a series of initiatives and organisations centred around taking away the stigma from mental health, and inspiring further conversations around it.
In 2019, they launched a mental health resource blog called The Local Optimist, designed to help those seeking to learn more about their own mental health, within a safe and motivating space. In 2021 they released a Madhappy Podcast, allowing listeners to get a deeper look into areas of mental health previously stigmatised or ignored, and in 2022 they created the Madhappy Foundation, a non-profit organisation designed to fund research into helping mental health support developments.
To support and highlight the importance of Mental Health Awareness month, the brand launched a limited-edition capsule of sweatshirts, sweatpants and hats boasting positive mental health affirmations. Included in the capsule is a weighted blanket, a product widely lauded as an effective tool for those suffering with anxiety or depression.
Formed in Devon in 2020, Talk Clothing is a brand dedicated to mental health. Partnering with the organisation CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), and even giving 10% of every sale to the cause, Talk has never shied away from showing their support in causes seeking to help those suffering from poor mental health.
Comprising of a range of men’s, women’s and unisex pieces all emblazoned with the encouragement of consumers to “talk”, the brand aims to help inspire open and honest conversations around how people are really feeling.
Alongside encouraging healthy mental well-being, the brand also promotes sustainable fashion creation, as all their products are made from eco-friendly materials and they place emphasis on ensuring their production process has a minimal impact on the environment.
One brand trailblazing the way to widespread encouragement and empowerment of women’s mental health support is Kate Spade.
The globally renowned brand is committed to making mental health the forefront of their social impact work, having signed up to the goal of providing 100,000 women and girls with mental health support by 2025. Not only that, this year alone they have pledged to invest over $2 million dollars into women’s empowerment and mental health resources globally.
While the company has been passionate about the case of helping women’s mental health, the suicide of the Kate Spade New York founder in 2018 has now re-affirmed the importance, and urgency of the cause, for the company. They are now seeking to help women and girls all around the world find agency, community, and opportunity.
Founded in 1967, JanSport is a bag brand known for their outdoor gear and backpacks. Since then, the brand has had a strong mission to help drive sustainable, long-lasting bags for its users.
With a 30-year guarantee on their products, the business believes in longevity in purchases rather than fast fashion, and on their site, they discuss their carbon footprint openly; this season alone they have used 13,000,000 bottles worth of recycled plastic by using recycled polyester in their backpacks.
Making it their goal to help provide mental health support as well as sustainability through their fashion, the brand also launched its LightenTheLoad campaign in 2020. Designed to help gen z interact with resources and tools available to them, as well as offer opportunities to discuss mental health issues they may be facing through weekly Instagram Live sessions with experts in the field.
While Mental Health Awareness week has challenged individuals to assess their own mental health, and ways they can help themselves and those around them in any challenges they’re facing, it’s also driven some fashion organisations to evaluate their own wider impact on society, and how they too can positively contribute to these conversations.