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Has Fashion Affected the Mental Health of Designers?

Awareness of mental health

Mental health is best explained as our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. Our own mental health is extremely important to look after as it helps us to be healthy and productive, cope with the stresses we face in life and to also keep healthy relationships with others. Unfortunately, mental health has slowly been increasing over the years, spiking more when the world was hit by Covid. Statistics show that 1 in 4 people will now experience some sort of mental health issue each year in England! However, it’s not something that can’t be fixed! There are multiple ways of tackling mental health problems, speaking to a doctor or psychiatric medication all can help control mental health.

Fashion and mental health

Fashion has such a big impact on everyone’s lives, our mood and behaviours. So, is there a correlation between fashion and mental health? Statistics have shown that people in the fashion industry are 25% more likely to experience mental illness than any other industry, that is a scarily big figure. Figures show that two-thirds of the people with a known mental disorder never seek professional help, not enough awareness is raised around this and the huge stigma around getting help.

Kate Spade

One huge fashion designer that has suffered from mental health is Kate Spade. Sadly, Spade committed suicide in 2018 at the age of 55 due to her struggles with mental health. As a designer she was extremely successful, best known for her own line of leather bags and purses. According to her husband, Spade began with anxiety and depression in 2012 which is when Spade was deep in to her career of being a designer. When looking at how many people in the fashion industry suffer from mental health, it’s hard to establish how many of Spades problems were from being in this industry?

Alexander McQueen

Another incredible designer who suffered from mental health problems was Alexander McQueen. McQueen was famously known for his breath-taking catwalk shows and precise tailoring. Even though he wasn’t in the fashion industry for very long he still had a tremendous impact on the fashion world and became one of the most outrageous and unique designers of the 21st century. At just the age of 40 McQueen took his life after battling with mental health issues for over 3 years and had overdosed on drugs twice. He struggled to enjoy his career and success he had created for himself due to feeling lonely and trapped, which are both factors that contributed to his depression.

L’Wren Scott

L’Wren Scott was best known as a model, fashion designer and stylist. As a well-established designer, Scott developed style tips better known as L’Wrenisms which were a mixture of opinions and practical tips mainly relating to fashion.

Wear a nude shoe to elongate the leg L'Wren Scott

Scott was also another sufferer of mental health, she struggled with a very long period of depression which began throughout her career in fashion. Which in 2014 brought her to committing suicide at the age of 49. It’s really important that as a community we help one another with mental health and the struggles that arise in everyday life, so that in the future less heart-breaking news like this occurs.

Can fashion be used to bring positive mental health?

After looking at the different statistics of the fashion industry impacting mental health negatively and the different fashion designers whom have struggled, can fashion be used in a positive way to help overcome mental health and spread awareness? It’s clear to see everyone has struggles in life and may need that extra help and reassurance. Fashion can help your mental health! Why do we all love fashion? It’s because it helps us show who we are and what we feel, it stimulates your creativity.

Not only does fashion boost self-esteem but it can help you feel more comfortable in your own skin, which is such an important factor when feeling motivated and having productive days. All which are great to helping boost mental wellbeing and avoid feeling anxious and depressed. Overall, fashion can be used in a positive way towards easing mental health issues but it can also be a factor towards the cause of mental health, especially after viewing how some fashion designers have struggled.


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