The New Lazy Oafs Collection Is Raising Awareness About Mental Health

With an estimated 1 in 5 youth expected to experience a severe mental health disorder at some point during their lifetime, there is still a shortage of comprehensive education available, affordable and accessible resources, and mainstream acceptance towards mental illness today. Beyond this, the fashion world is just one of the many industries known for skirting around mental health issues. With a relentless fashion calendar and product cycle, it’s no wonder there’s a great deal of stress and pressure felt by many who work in the industry.

Still, openness is slowly growing as more public discussions are being had. For example, in September 2018 Kendall Jenner opened up about how her anxiety prevented her from participating in the Spring/Summer 2019 fashion week. Then, in February 2019, Victoria’s Secret model Nina Agdal shared on Instagram about experiencing anxiety, particularly during fashion week, and suffering from panic attacks. While public figures such as Jenner and Agdal are helping to push the conversation forward, especially for younger fans who look up to these mega-influencers, there’s a lot more the industry could be doing to support all kinds of people suffering from these conditions.

Out of this, independent streetwear brand Lazy Oafs has launched an anti-stigma campaign and limited edition collection called “It’s OK to not be OK”, in an effort to get people talking about these issues. Created in collaboration with Time To Change, a UK-based non-profit working to end mental health discrimination, the unisex capsule features seven covetable styles including graphic t-shirts, a matching set, a tote bag, and other items such as books and a vase.

Furthermore, the products have been designed in connection with a group of global artists and illustrators including David Mendez Alonso, Tara Booth, Ellie King, Joey Yu, and Pete Sharp. Aiming to “raise awareness, change attitudes and encourage speaking up about mental health through various forms of creative expression” the brand has tapped into each creator’s artistic aesthetic for the special products – for example, Alonso’s contribution includes a matching button down shirt and trousers featuring a playful, multi-colored design while Sharp has designed a pink tee with an abstract graphic aiming to capture our “stream of consciousness” and express the interconnectedness of internal feelings.

Going one step further, Lazy Oafs has pledged to donate 100% of the profits to Time To Change, which works with thousands of schools and companies on programs and workshops across England. Over the weekend, the brand also threw a launch party and pop-up shop at Protein Studios in London. All in all, the collection represents a step in the right direction, and hopefully other brands will soon follow suit.

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