Mental Health: Wearing Your Label

It is nothing new to hear that Urban Outfitters’ product range is slightly questionable and offensive. However in 2010 they released some clothes that reflected mental health in a lighthearted way and almost as a piss take.

Canadian based clothing brand Wear Your Label is now doing the opposite. They are perusing mental health – as it should be – on a serious note with a new clothing range that aims to “create conversations around mental health and ultimately end the stigma (in style).”

Mental Health is something that hits home with me. Mental illness runs in the family; my granny had Schizophrenia and a few other relatives have gone through phases of Depression. I myself I have been through depression too and have had experience with quite severe anxiety; last year was a time in my life where I went through a phase of panic attacks that I can only describe as being “soul destroying.”

So as a person who has struggled with Mental Health I agree in the outrage for Urban Outfitters, their completely inconsiderate use of the word ‘Depression’ and making the words ‘Eat Less’ into some sort of fashion statement, however I’m not sure how I feel about Wear Your Label either.

At first sight the name appears to condone in Wearing Your (own) Label – wearing your mental struggle; which I find questionable. Why would we want our struggle engraved on a T-Shirt for all to see? Doesn’t those with a mental illness already wear their labels in their own heads?

I then noticed the sweater that says “its okay to not be okay” and the idea of having that sweater, for people to think “there is someone with emotional baggage” didn’t appeal to me. However looking at the company’s About pages has given me a different opinion entirely:

To “wear your label” is to take ownership over your mental health.

WEAR YOUR LABEL IS A CONSCIOUS CLOTHING LINE

with the goal to create conversations around mental health and ultimately end the stigma (in style). 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. 5 in 5 have mental health; yet no one is talking about it. Inspired by our personal experiences with mental illness, and frustrated with stigma, we founded Wear Your Label in hopes to change that.

This statement makes me think, there is actually so much stigma that surrounds Mental Illnesses. Why is it still – in the 21st Century – ‘the elephant in the room?’ The message of Wear Your Label is indeed on point. I find the idea of making your struggle a fashion statement is poetic and the products seems to shed beauty out of pain.

Struggle vs. Strength Tank (Aqua)
T-Shirts that share the message of ‘finding strength through struggle.’
Leggings that say ‘your story isn’t over’ relates to Project Semi Colon‘s message of continuing on through the struggles of life.

Have a look at Wear Your Label and let me know what you think!

I’ve got to admit, upon writing this I have gone back and forth trying to decipher how I felt about this company’s objectives. On one hand you can question “is wearing your label a good thing, won’t people see I am sick, that I’m struggling and take advantage of that?” Or you can see it as “#GettingMyLabelOn because I’m taking back the control of my mental health and this Depression or eating disorder or anxiety does not and will not define me. Here I am here is my struggle.”

Nobody should go through a mental struggle alone, and for them to not go through it alone, we need to open up and start talking!

I’ll leave you on this hypothetical scenario;

A man walks down the road with a broken leg. You know this because his leg is covered in a plaster cast and he walks with the support of crutches. You smile and you hold the door open for him as he limps into the shop. You point him in the direction of a lift. You give him your seat on the bus.

A man walks down the road. You know this because you just seen him. Yet what you don’t know is, he has Depression.

Isn’t it time we start talking about Mental Health and actually learn how to support those struggling?

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