By Luke Elisio
Wearing your heart on your sleeve just became a whole lot easier. The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation has selected Wear Your Label, a fashion line aimed at creating a conversation about mental health, as its latest innovator.
One of six collections asked to join The Joe Fresh Centre, Wear Your Label was co-founded by Kayley Reed and Kyle MacNevin, both of whom have dealt with their own mental illnesses in the past. The brand encourages individuals to take ownership over their mental health rather than fear the stigma associated with mental illness.
“We tend to mask mental health with a negative stereotype and so bringing that positive side and the importance of self care for everybody, not just those who are going through a particular struggle, is something we’re really trying to do with our brand,” said Reed, 22.
The pieces of Wear Your Label, all designed by somebody affected by mental illness, serve as a medium for creating conversations about mental health by having phrases such as ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ and ‘self-care isn’t selfish’ written across the chest.
Customers are embracing this rare opportunity to open up about their mental illnesses, as evidenced by the overwhelming amount of customer feedback.
“Everyday we get hundreds of inquiries from people all over the world, asking to be an advocate for our cause or say thank you for the care package we put together when we ship things out. We get people who say this is the best antidepressant they’ve ever received,” said MacNevin, 23.
Becoming a part of The Joe Fresh Centre is crucial for Reed and MacNevin, as it allows them make connections in the fashion industry and continue to grow their business.
“Getting our clothing in physical locations around North America would be the ultimate goal for us. Enhancing our technical design skills and moving from casual pieces to more couture pieces would be fantastic as well,” said MacNevin.
Both MacNevin and Reed hope that Wear Your Label will allow those dealing with mental illness to find comfort in knowing there are others facing a similar issue.
“More than just being a statement or advocacy piece, or something that gives back, Wear Your Label is something that when you wear it , you feel comfortable and it’s a reminder that you’re not alone in whatever struggle you may be going through,” said Reed.