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“Wear Your Label” Clothing Line Takes The Taboo Out Of Mental Illness

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wear-your-label-screencapThe hardest thing about mental illness is how isolating it can be. When you’re in the trenches, it feels like you’re the only one there, the only one who’s ever been there, and the only one who will ever be there. Now an inspiring new clothing line is letting people know they’re not alone even when they’re feeling their loneliest, and it’s working to raise awareness about mental health and end the stigma in the process.

According to People, clothing line Wear Your Label is the brainchild of Kyle MacNevin and Kayley Reed, two University of New Brunswick students who met while teaming up on youth engagement workshops for a mental health organization. The pair bonded over their shared experiences with mental illness and came up with the idea to start a clothing line that would both raise awareness and create a sense of community among others who’ve struggled with mental health issues.

All of their clothes are gender-neutral and each features a tag with actual self-care instructions in place of the usual garment care instructions. The pieces — leggings, tank tops, t-shirts, sweatshirts, bracelets, and shorts — range in price from $30-70 and include slogans like “Self-Care Isn’t Selfish,” “Sad But Rad,” and “Your Story Isn’t Over.” The pair teamed with health professionals to make sure none of their slogans are triggering to sufferers, and ten-percent of their earnings are donated to mental health initiatives.

Given my own history with both anxiety and postpartum depression, I couldn’t be more excited about what this brand is doing. During the lowest of my lows, I can’t tell you how much it would have helped me to not only be able to put on one of these shirts, but also to happen upon someone else wearing one. When you’re struggling, you live for those “me too” moments. You live for someone else to say they’re fighting too and you are not a failure.

No matter how far we’ve come, there are still people who think mental illnesses aren’t real illnesses, who are averse to therapy or other treatments, or who believe that struggling with your mental health is somehow a flaw or a weakness, as opposed to a real and serious medical condition. Wearing a shirt that says “sad is rad” won’t magically take that away, but it will give a voice to the staggering number of people who battle mental illnesses every day and it will chip away at the stigma by showing people there’s no reason to be ashamed.

The founders of Wear Your Label are launching a Kickstarter campaign on May 20 to raise money to expand their brand. It’d be great to see some pieces targeting moms, though I get that they’re trying to keep the messages universal and gender neutral. It will be exciting to see where they go and to hopefully see more and more people “wearing their labels” with pride.

(Photo: Wear Your Label)