Designers making fashion a mental health statement
New Brunswick Company Wear Your Label is about “taking ownership over your struggles”
October 19, 2015, 11:07 am ASTLast Updated: October 19, 2015, 12:30 pm
Kayley Reed and Kyle MacNevin were tired of hearing the stigma against mental health, so they are trying to end the stigma with the use of fashion.
Reed, who is 21 years old, and MacNevin, who is 22 years old, started the New Brunswick-based fashion company Wear Your Label when they were working together at a mental health organization.
The pair has launched a clothing line that uses a different type of tag to address their buyers.
The clothing consists of sweaters, T-shirts and tank tops, and will be evolving more this year. They also add something special: instead of the usual “how to wash” tags they decided to have “self-care” tags instead.
The label is designed to spread mental health awareness through fashion.
“Wearing your label is so much more than just physically wearing your label on your shirt — it’s a mentality. It is about being able to take ownership over whatever the struggles you are going through,” said CEO Kayley Reed.
Reed and MacNevin both struggled with their own mental health, which is how they were introduced. They bonded over their experiences dealing with their own struggles.
They both were able to receive the help they needed and now they want to help others who are going through the same thing by creating a mental health awareness fashion industry.
They chose their models carefully. Instead of picking them according to their measurements and the way they looked, they wanted models who had a mental health story to tell.
“We want to get to know these models and to get to know their stories. We want to know what makes them special; what their struggles have been,” said Reed.
“Everybody you see on our site and on social media is affected by mental illness in some way. It has been really important for us to share those stories and to make the rain come to light in that way,” said Reed.
Wear Your Label is receiving a lot of attention, especially in the last year when Wear Your Label became active.
Wear Your Label received an invitation to attend the New York Times Fashion Week show.
“We wanted things to be really unique — so we wrote a story,” said Reed. “We made these stories intertwine with our models. So when our models were walking down the runway, the director was reading out their stories.”
“It was quite emotional,” said MacNevin. “A lot of the models were crying so they had to redo their make up every so often. It was an amazing experience because they had to walk their story.”
A few weeks ago, they were accepted to join Joe Fresh with their full collection. Reed and MacNevin filled out an application and they received a call a few weeks ago.
MacNevin will be moving to Toronto to start up their collection at Joe Fresh.
“This is a great opportunity for Wear Your Label to really create those connections with the fashion industry because as much as it is about mental health it is almost just as important to create that change in fashion,” said Reed.
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