Buying a new eye-catching piece of cloth or sneakers can give you a little hit of happiness for a moment, but this is not what fashion brands are looking forward right now.
A growing contingent of brands is seeking to make a meaningful change by working to improve mental well-being in the long term.
Below are three brands that went outside the normal walls of marketing and have put mental health and emotional well-being at the forefront of their products and marketing message.
Launched in April 2017, Madhappy is a streetwear brand filled with a self-proclaimed ethos of optimism and exclusivity. It offers core styles cut for men and women, as well as some unisex pieces.
In addition to cheerful and colorful tees and sweats, The Los Angeles-based brand also delivers events featuring mental health pros as speakers. It introduces itself as “an inclusive community of local optimists” who try to make the world better, one product at a time.
Its customer base is 60 percent female, 40 percent male. Madhappy has already amassed more than 19,000 Instagram followers thanks to its enthusiastic young founders, fun parties and a diverse group of big supporters from celebrities such as Olivia Perez, Gigi, and Anwar Hadid, Sofia Richie, 2 Chainz, The Weeknd, The Chainsmokers, Cardi B, and Kacey Musgraves.
In 2019, the brand launched a blog featuring content focused on wellness and mental health and resources for those looking for help, information on meditation, or interviews with celebrities sharing their own mental health struggles.
In May, Madhappy introduced – in collaboration with meditation app company Happy Not Perfect – a fun collection dedicated to drawing more awareness towards mental health, under the name of “Positive Reinforcement”. It comprises a matching hoodie and sweatpants in quicksilver, as well as a white tee. The main features on the clothes are the quirky and misshapen quotes amidst cheery graphics of rainbows and suns.
Nike has released earlier this month its new Air Max 270 React sneakers. The new “In My Feels” Air Max 270s sneakers promote mental health awareness through subtle design details.
The new sneakers feature the same overall design as existing pairs available on Nike’s website. With cushion in the heel, a lightweight fabric, and rubber sole, some design elements remained the same. However, other elements were changed to reflect the shoe’s purpose of promoting mental health awareness.
The brand partnered with mental health advocate Liz Beecroft to design the new “In My Feels” version of the sneakers. Hidden in the design, there are several details that serve as a reminder to shoe wearers to be conscious of their own mental health.
The most obvious detail is the color, lime green with white details including the rubber bottoms and laces. Green is the color of mental health awareness.
In 2018, lifestyle brand Ban.do launched in collaboration with jewelry maker Iconery, a collection featuring nameplate necklaces that read “anxiety,” “depression,” and “bipolar,” among other phrases. That initiative has since raised over $100,000 for mental health non-profit Bring Change to Mind, started by actress Glenn Close.