Fashion + Mental Health 2020

Creative minds and the pressure to succeed

Creative minds live in fast forward. Flares of inspiration and passion are the driving force for some of the world’s more inspirational people. Above all, their working routine is revealing a damaging effect on their mental wellbeing. A personal headache. To explore this, fashion’s global stage and its workforce is becoming the light of accepting how working patterns are added pressures for success.  

Pen to paper, needle to runway

Pen to paper, needle to runway – only part of the mechanism that keeps creators ticking. From intense meetings to jet-setting for fashion week, designers are in the fast lane. These are words that live in the forefront of the minds of fashion designers. It seems there aren’t enough months in the year to allow designers to feel the success of their collections. However, Jean Paul Gaultier notes that the “frenetic pace” of the industry can restrict the daydream of innovation, creating a blurry headspace to have creative expression. Improving year on year can be an exhausting mindset, a feeling that is coming to the brim for many. In the same vein, other creative industries also stress this repressive mind-state. “Under pressure”, once sang by Queen, is now reflecting today’s contemporary setting. Is the pressure of success a barrier for true design freedom?

September schedule

Fashion forecast and trend setting, a template to live by. The renowned Anna Wintour declares “fashion is not about looking back. It’s always about looking forward.” Over a decade later and this statement couldn’t be more true. Fashion publications are the puzzle masters, piecing together the new collections and trending predictions. Vogue’s September issue, known for its extensive pages and door wedge size, is like a religious artefact. The September Issue documentary revealed the journey of building the 2007 issue of American Vogue. In what was the biggest edition to date, the September issue in 2007 made history. The takeaway from this, the best is always replaced. Above all, fashion’s system is linked to approval and rating. September is the month that is considered as a year in fashion.

Harsh realities

An alternative perspective is to consider the representatives of creative minds. Supermodels. The traditional sightings of castings and campaign shots are representations of the distant past. However, the online platforms of fashion models has become a BTS of their true day-to-day life. For example, Amelia Gray Hamlin told her 642k Instagram followers her story about her eating disorder. Daughter to former model and actress, Lisa Rinna, Amelia comments “Sadly I feel the need to remind people what anorexia looks like. And there is not just one type”. Hamlin’s experiences notes to how growing up in this environment creates a battling mindset. In contrast, YouTube content ‘Victoria Secret’s Model Diet for 24 Hours’, describe model life to be desirable. The conflict of content that is being published by many creative industries is losing sight of the importance of wellbeing. Realities of models working life is being laid bare for all to see.

Cycle of thoughts

Our mindset can be our harshest critic. It is not uncommon for people to base their success from other people’s opinions. The fashion industry is a living comparison of old and existing designs, an exhausting environment. It is an unescapable dialogue. In 2018, the death of designer Kate Spade shocked everyone. Her successful career was inspirational and a credit to her talent. This tragedy has accelerated the much needed conversation about the pressures creators face. In other words, success is a personal measurement that we constantly refer to. Indeed, our cycle of thoughts do dictate the way we view ourselves, however, this can be a concealed art. In short, the strict deadline that fashion adheres to is a conflicting structure that needs change and through tragedy is this ringing more true.

To conclude, the fashion industry is calling our for more appreciation. So, from personal targets, to adhering to new influences, designers face a never ending cycle of mental checking. Their working environment has been built off approval ratings and number of purchases, an all too clinical way of measuring success. It is time that creative minds had the freedom to design what truly inspires them, regardless of trends. Wellbeing is a opening discourse and its being heard loud and clear. The fashion industry is a living pressure cooker and its ready to go off.

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