These T-Shirts are addressing mental illness in a whole new way
Last year, Urban Outfitters came under fire for selling T-Shirts that made light of mental health issues. Their insensitive and potentially harmful messages about eating disorders and depression were not only disturbing, but served as a reminder that mental health issues aren’t taken seriously enough.
With nearly one in five people suffering from some form mental illness, it’s time we changed the conversation. And that’s exactly what two young designers are aiming to do that with their new clothing line, Wear Your Label.
Co-founders Kayley Reed and Kyle MacNevin are young—21 and 22, respectively—but that hasn’t stopped them from making waves in the world of both fashion and mental health. Their clothing line, which features tanks and tees with slogans like “It’s Okay To Not Be Okay,” and “Self Care Isn’t Selfish,” aims to de-stigmatize those “invisible” illnesses that so many people struggle with, but are afraid to address publicly.
According to the Wear Your Label website, the two designers met at workshops for a mental health organization in December 2013. After just a few weeks, the idea was born: to establish a “conscious clothing line with the goal to create conversations around mental health and ultimately end the stigma (in style).”
The biggest issue for those struggling with mental health is undoubtedly stigma, according to Kayley. “I struggled with an eating disorder for months before I reached out and told people—even those closest to me—because I was afraid of what their reaction would be,” she told HelloGiggles. “And I was ashamed. Meeting and working with Kyle—someone so open with his mental health—helped me realize how important it is to share these things, and create these conversations. Which is why now we really try and do that through Wear Your Label.”
Oh, and the clothing isn’t only rad on the outside. In fact, instead of just providing laundering instructions on the tags within the shirt, Wear Your Label clothing also provides self-care instructions—just a little reminder of what you can do on one of your harder days.
“The tags are written by a psychologist,” Kyle explained to BuzzFeed. “It’s all clinically-proven things to increase dopamine levels in your brain and feel better within a 20-minute time period. So if you’re having a bad day, you can just flip your tag over on your shirt and take that next step to take care of yourself.”
But Wear Your Label isn’t only fighting the stigma surrounding mental health. When you pay the site a visit to buy some clothes (because let’s be real, we need it ALL), you may notice that the clothing is not divided by gender. Yep, that’s purposely—it’s to encourage inclusivity, especially for gender non-conforming and transgender individuals.
Oh, and their models? Yeah, those aren’t just models—they’re “beautiful souls with a story to tell” according to the company’s Instagram account. “We put out a casting call for models saying that there was no height requirement, no sample measurement restrictions, none of that,” Kayley told Buzzfeed. “We only asked people to send us pictures of them smiling and to share their own story with mental health.”
As if all that isn’t awesome enough, 10% of profits are given back. “We partner with local and national organizations, speak to audiences about our mental health journey, and host workshops to create a healthier community,” say Kayley and Kyle on their site.