Sustainable Fashion & Mental Health
How did I make the connection between mental health and sustainable fashion? Well, I think my background in mental health combined with being a passionate person concerned with the well-being of others, influenced the way I bought and who I bought from. I love independent businesses here in the United Kingdom that are doing their own thing whilst taking action and showing consideration for their impact on their surroundings, whether that’s using organic cotton, using minimal recyclable packaging for their products, or promoting better ways of caring for what we buy. It’s not just good for me to see something new, but purchasing goods and clothing from people who show true avidity about their business is a breath of fresh air. Their advocacy and drive to educate consumers rang true to my desire to de-stigmatize and advocate for mental health.
Advocating better consumer behaviour has me hooked and like many, I was enthralled with the documentary ‘The True Cost’ which highlighted the fashion industry’s impact on the world and the people behind the clothes we wear. I had always been conscious about what brands I bought from and was always curious about what a company stood for. However, when I was younger, all I used to wear was ‘what was in’ with my friends. When we’re trying to find ourselves in our teenage years, we learn fast that there is pressure to be seen as ‘cool’ by wearing the right brand to ‘fit in’. It was all about the image and no further questions were asked. If I knew then what I know now about who makes my clothes and how much profit the big corporations make from exploiting their workers, I wouldn’t have bought the clothes I had.
My aspirations are that Keep Real can combine being something ‘cool’ with standing for something ‘good’ in a super rad way. This way maybe we can change perceptions of younger people about sustainable fashion. We can hopefully make a difference, and from our ever growing access to social media platforms, we can reach people of all demographics quicker and more effectively too.
Clothing directly affects how we see ourselves, our own ‘image’, and how people treat us. There is no doubt the power, influence and message one’s outfit can send. So the question is if we are smart about the way we shop, why can’t we be smart about why we shop too? This is why I am interested in sustainable clothing. It isn’t just about the wonderful things it does for the environment, but you are actively making a small difference to someone’s life, and buying into something good, ethical, and worthy of your hard earned money!
The Cost of Sustainable Fashion
When most people think of ‘eco-fashion’ or ‘sustainable clothing’ they presume it’s more expensive and isn’t anything to do with their interests. Yet when I see folks changing their eating habits or recycling, most people do not extend that critique of the way they choose to live towards their wardrobe. I mean it’s great we think about the unethical use of animals in the fashion industry, but we have to start adapting healthier habits for our minds when it comes to shopping. Advocating for more education and awareness, in efforts to holistically present a sustainable solution to the fashion industry is critical, and in this way mirrors the need to spread mental health awareness. I couldn’t think of any better way I could be part of the change, than combining the two together and I’m so glad I have.
About the Author
I am Kimberley, a mental health blogger and owner of the upcoming goods movement ‘Keep Real‘ based in Yorkshire, England. I also have a BSc (Hons) Degree in Counselling Therapy, with experience of mental health problems personally. Anxiety used to be quite a huge part of my life in my teenage years, you can find me discussing it onBBC Radio 4’s broadcast of All in the Mind, as well as in an article forRethink Mental Illness! From my passion to raise awareness of improving well-being, I have started my own business- and aim to spread a lil bit of happiness to all you beautiful souls!