Mental Heath and Fashion | An Interview With Claire Jacklin

For a little while now, ‘mental health’ has been a bit of a buzzword.

Opening up more conversations about personal struggles is getting the ball rolling on people feeling their experiences are relevant and valid. However it’s not enough yet. For a lot of people, the ol’ British mantra of ‘keeping a stiff upper lip’ is enforced harder then ever, people don’t want to appear weak or unprofessional.

For example, mental health and fashion. After years of struggling with depression and anxiety, in 2018 accessories designer Kate Spade’s death was ruled a suicide. Now, fashion is an industry worth £33 billion. How many feel the same pressures and stresses Kate did, but aren’t speaking about it?

Somebody combining conversations surrounding mental health and fashion is personal stylist Claire Jacklin. After sharing her personal experiences, Claire reached out to her audience. Now, Claire has launched a stylish t-shirt collection to continue raising awareness of mental health.

Mental health and fashion campaign, claire's t shirt design
Claire’s tshirt design, available in a range of colours and sizes

Plus, 20% of profits are split equally between Noah’s Ark Charity, and Young Minds UK.

First, Noah’s Ark is a wonderful charity based in Cardiff (local to Claire!) supporting poorly children and their families, with healthcare and emotional support. Next, Young Minds make sure young people are educated on mental health, and aren’t alone if they’re struggling. Definitely two great causes!

Before, we’ve spoken to Claire about her background and all things fashion. Here, we’re chatting with Claire about how mental health and fashion can be used to express your feelings, and how we should be speaking about mental health across generations.

Mental Health and Fashion | An Interview With Claire Jacklin

First of all, as a personal stylist it’s the job description to make clients feel more confident, and comfortable with themselves than ever before. Personally, what’s your happy outfit? Do you have any items of clothing that ‘spark joy’?

At the moment, I’m really happy in a dress and ankle boots- forget jeans! Also, I love a slogan tee or a sweatshirt! When it comes to sparking joy with fashion- I’m all for anything sparkly, or something colourful. The psychology of colour and how it affects mood is fascinating.

Mental health and fashion, claire jacklin
Day to day, Claire offers her service as a personal stylist for men and women

Adding a bit of colour can definitely be an instant mood booster! Connecting mental health and fashion, how can people use their wardrobe and clothing to improve their well-being?

There’s no short answer to this! There’s a few things people do;

  • Wearing clothes that represent you
  • Choosing the right colours that make you look fresh and well
  • Knowing the right fabrics that work around your body lines and outfits that make you feel good

First, remember that YOU are what matters here. If you feel good, that’s most important. Also, it doesn’t have to cost the Earth. I know the pressure of keeping up with latest brands, seasons and styles- it’s not sustainable. Instead, try charity shops, E-Bay, style swaps, which are all green and cost effective.

Speaking on your #ItsOKNotToBe… campaign, the two charities the campaign is donating profits to are focused on young people and their families. A lot of Solely Original’s customers are mum’s, aunties and grandma’s to young people. What’s one piece of advice you think we should be giving young people on mental health?

Mental health and fashion
Visit Claire’s website to shop her charity t-shirt collection

First, just reach out, anyway you can via text, email, conversation. Childline have a new amazing facility, where children or teenagers can get confidential help, via their phone or laptop. Letting young people know there’s help at hand is important, just reach out however you can, that’s comfortable for you.

As a creative industry, we should be expressing ourselves and supporting each other. Mental health and fashion is often all about self expression and being artistic. What does it actually mean to have an ‘individual style’?

It means being true to yourself, expressing yourself visually and in a way that you may not otherwise communicate. Being brave enough to wear what you love without caring what others think. Not ‘slipping into a crowd’, but standing out, being creative and unique. Also, someone’s got to set the trends, you can be inspiring others and that’s pretty awesome!