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T-Shirts That Tell The Truth

sad but rad tshirt

Two young friends, Kayley Reed (21) and Kyle MacNevin (22), are the designers for a new fashion label called ‘Wear Your Label’. This new clothing brand was specifically designed for young people who suffer from mental health disorders who find it challenging to tell people about their problems or illnesses.

This label wear could help many sufferers out there to open up to the world about their problems and getting it into the open in a different way. The clothing brand features T-shirts and sweaters with slogans like ‘It’s okay not to be okay’ and ‘Self care isn’t selfish’. Both the designers are young people who had their own share of problems.

The two young designers asked a psychologist to write slogans for some of the clothing garments like ‘How to take care of yourself’ in bold writing and also recruited models that have no modelling experience, just normal looking young people, to model the garments. “There was no height requirement, no sample measurement restrictions… We only asked people to send us pictures of them smiling and to share their own story of mental health,” Kayley said when interviewed by Buzzfeed.

A definition given on eating disorders says ‘Eating disorders are complex and potentially life threatening mental health problems. Typically when we think about eating disorders, we think of someone who is very underweight and is restricting the amount of food he or she eats. However, there are different types of eating disorders, and many different types of disordered eating behaviours such as restricting food, overeating, purging, or over-exercising.’

Kayley suffered from an eating disorder and says about the stigma involved with suffering from mental health disorders and her own struggle to fit into society, that at times it made her feel ashamed: “I struggled with an eating disorder for months before I reached out and told people, because I was afraid of what their reaction would be.”

Kyle suffers from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and according to HelpGuide.org, a site for mental health and well being, ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Unlike a phobia, where your fear is connected to a specific thing or situation, the anxiety of generalized anxiety disorder is diffuse – a general feeling of dread or unease that colours your whole life. This anxiety is less intense than a panic attack, but much longer lasting, making normal like difficult and relaxation impossible’.

Kayley is very supportive of Kyle’s GAD, “Meeting and working with Kyle, someone so open with his mental health, helped me realised how important it is to share these things, and create these conversations. Which is why we now really try and do that through ‘Wear Your Label’?” Kyle and Kayley both worked for the same mental health organisation where they met and became friends and feel that working there helped them to get deal with their own disorders.

Many young people find it hard to speak to people about their mental health, in fear of what the other person might say. This fear of lack of understanding, can cause the sufferer to become socially isolated, trigger suicidal tendencies, cause feelings of loneliness and rejection, and de-motivate a sufferer from speaking to others about their problems ever again.

It becomes better in time when you can openly speak to people about why you are different to others and know how to explain your illness. Helping them to understand how your illness affects you in public could help them to understand your position better and help them to relax in your company.

Relaxing is the motivation behind the slackly designed garments these brave young designers have come up with. The T-shirts are designed to fit the body in a relaxed and comfortable way and it is suitable for almost every kind of fashion and occasion. It can be worn with jeans and tracksuits, and is about carrying yourself in a comfortable and easy way in public. It is made from textiles that are easy to iron, easy to wash and comfy on flesh.

The designers are sending out a message that mental health disorders can affect anyone, and that it does not choose whether you are male or female, it affects everyone and they have put the catalogue in their website together in such a way to reflect this belief, “Groups such a transgender and gender non-conforming youth are more likely to experience mental health challenges, and that’s not cool. Our belief? If you like a style, wear it with pride.”

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