In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place from now until this Sunday (May 22), one Canadian company is making it okay to not only talk about your mental state, but to wear it—loud and proud—on your chest.
Founded by long-time friends Kyle MacNevin and Kayley Reed—both of whom have lived or currently live with mental illness—Wear Your Label is a social mission–driven fashion business that produces positive, mental health–affirming apparel. Inscribed with messages like, “it’s okay to not be okay”, “self-care isn’t selfish”, and “sad but rad”, the Ts and tank-tops are meant to reduce the stigma of mental illness, while simultaneously prompting discussions related to mental health.
“The stories that we were sharing were so personal yet so powerful,” MacNevin says by phone, referring to a particularly candid heart-to-heart with Reed that led to Wear Your Label’s launch, “that we began to say, ‘There’s gotta be a better way to share these than just having conversation over conversation over conversation one-on-one with people.”
In less than two years, Wear Your Label has helped lessen the taboo nature of mental health through its stylish, Canadian-designed apparel, jewellery, and emerging home décor line. The company has even collaborated with a number of national and international organizations, such as the Canadian Mental Health Association and Royal Bank of Canada, to co-create products, bring awareness to the cause, and contribute to various mental health initiatives.
Wear Your Label’s latest partnership with Joe Fresh will see MacNevin and Reed bring their threads to Vancouver’s Joe Fresh on Granville Street this Thursday (May 19), which is one of three cross-Canada stops for the brand. From 6 to 8:30 p.m., guests can enjoy 25 percent off all Joe Fresh stock, and the first 200 customers will receive a special “Fresh Perspective” collaboration T or tank.
Fifty percent of all proceeds from that evening’s sales will benefit Jack.org, a long-time partner of Wear Your Label that stresses the importance of mental health—the everyday thoughts and feelings that we experience—for young people, in particular.
“We’ve really built our brand around the same values, so it’s really meaningful for us to be able to give back to them,” notes Reed.
Rocking a graphic T-shirt or tank-top may seem like a small step in the discourse surrounding mental health and illness, but as MacNevin notes, it’s an important gesture that gets people intrigued and talking.
“A shirt that says something like, ‘anxious but courageous’ creates a conversation. It makes people think, ‘How many people do walk around like that in a day? And how much of an impact can you have in your community?’ ” he says. “And what’s a better way to get that message out there than wearing it on your chest?”
For more information about the shopping event, or to RSVP, click here.