Updated Nov 29th 2021
The most common question I get asked is why am I pushing mental health awareness through a clothing brand? And the answer is never just a simple one, so I thought why not explain it through words and create a nice little piece of reading?
Usually when someone has the idea to start a brand, it comes from the overwhelming passion to do something you love, to be your own boss and to hopefully turn it into something big. For myself, these points were all there, but I wanted to add something more. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to start my own clothing brand. Having worked in the surf fashion industry since the age of 16, this style was all I knew. But let’s fast forward to 2020… During the summer of 2020, something decided to rear its ugly head that had been brewing inside me for many years, Depression. It came out of nowhere and like many people before me, in came the confusion, unable to fix what was happening, but most of all, the lowest feeling I have ever known. Battling so many emotions and trying make sense of what’s going on, it’s hard to get your head together to work out which way is up, and which way is down.
Having spoken to many people about their experiences and how they felt when they were first diagnosed with depression, the general feeling is that, probably due to shock and not knowing how to deal with it, we all seem to shut ourselves away. Maybe we are embarrassed? Maybe we ashamed? The fact is, it is scary, it is unlike anything you have ever felt before and it can take a long time to wrap your head around it. Now, I’m not going to go to in-depth as, thanks to the guys at Wild Stag Studios, there’s a mini video we put together (right here) so I don’t want to feel like I’m repeating myself. So, after a lot of alone time and a lot of searching inside myself I finally pulled together enough strength and courage to reach out, something that a lot of you will know, is very hard.
So, here is the reason why I decided to fuse that surf style fashion in with raising mental health awareness… When I started to reach out, I was surprised by how many people’s reactions went something like “But you surf, how can you be feeling depressed?” and it made me realise that there’s a lot of image-based stereotyping involved in these so called ‘cool’ sports. It’s almost as if you are a super rad person if you snowboard and have zero problems, but if you mention that you may have some kind of mental health problem, it’s too real and you are then opened to judgemental people, the status is removed from you. It dawned on me that professionals such as footballers and Olympic athletes were being very open about their mental health and what they were doing to raise awareness, in the board sport world and through other extreme sports, it wasn’t being publicised as much, it was like it was just being pushed under the rug. So, why not launch a clothing brand, with a simple but effective logo, but also holds a message that says its ok to talk about mental health? The more I thought about it, the more the ideas started to flow, it was almost like it was the cog that had been missing from the machine. It then gave me a boost, a focus, it helped me pull myself out of a difficult time because I felt like I was doing something to give back and could hopefully make a difference. I took my own experience and tried to create something where people wouldn’t have to go through the same struggle of feeling alone, lost, and confused, to create a community where people felt comfortable and not just offer advice to people struggling, but also people connected to them. So, like I said in the video, whether you think it or not, sharing a story, no matter how big or small, can really have an impact on someone. It’s only been a year, but the support from so many of you has been beyond anything I could have ever imagined. From every t-shirt sold to every share of a social post, every little bit helps raise awareness. This is only the beginning, let’s keep spreading the word and building this community.