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Tackling Stigma with Style- Fashion & Matters of the Mind

Clothes; the Potential Armour

It’s a new day and you’re simply getting dressed, be it your formal culottes for work, casual denims for lunch with a friend or maybe a glimmering slit for an evening dinner with your better half!

With every dress you wear, you-purposely or non-purposely-communicate mutely to the world. Don’t you?

Self- Care is Badass

Self-care and clothing go hand in hand, as you long to see yourself looking sexy, empowered, self-possessed, and in control of your own image. The garment you choose to wear is a mighty way to craft your image.

Battling with body shaming, public humiliation, mental illness, personally or socially? It’s time to encourage yourself to own and embrace your struggles and be okay with opening up.

You curate ‘Who you are’ by ‘Wearing what you really want to!’

Own your Stigma; It’s Okay Not to Be Okay!

Riding on this newest trend in the market of dealing mental illness with the help of clothing, we came across Exhale Label; a brand who creates empowering garments to encourage conversation & awareness towards matters of the mind.

We spoke to its founder; Palak Shah, a former psychology and a fashion student, who quit her job in LA to create a brand that gives people a platform to talk about their story and create affordable, good quality and edgy clothing. Some excerpts from our conversation…

1. What is the muse behind ‘Exhale Label’ and how does it promote mental wellbeing?

Exhale Label, brought to life in 2018, is a conscious effort to bring together people who have had personal harsh experiences around their insecurities, body shaming and depression which has eventually affected their mental health. By talking about emotions & vulnerability, I really wanted to build a community which says 'It's okay to not be okay'.

We at Exhale Label, donate a percentage of our profits to different organizations like Reef Watch (adopted a reef), Sant Gadge Dharamshala, Kranti and Cooper Hospital and many more to come.

2. Does your garment carry a sense of emotion and how the voice of your clothing sound like?

Our every garment is based on a real-life story. The Exhale Warriors (our clients) share their personal experiences and later we meaningfully curate a garment and thus a tagline around it.

With an idea of building a community and help people become even more comfortable with normalising their state of mind and their harsh past experiences, Exhale Label, believes-small changes can lead to big differences and that is what we are striving for.

3. State your idea behind ‘My Body, My Business’

Body Shaming is mostly seen everywhere, but, we have reached a point where we can decide whether we want to be polite or snap back and say “hey I don’t think you have the permission to be commenting on how I look”. As you feel good in your skin, don’t listen to anyone and that’s where one should always say ‘My Body, My Business’.

A real-life story that we came across; read it here.

4. Does your brand portray mental health as fashion statement?

We feel conveying mental health issues through clothing, is a way of life, hence, it should never be a fashion statement.

The world is changing, self-expression is getting bolder every day. Everyone has their voice now, well, to communicate those feelings via clothing add so much more personality in today’s era.

5. ‘Clothing is a way of self-expression’- can you shed light on the statement!

Slogans on garments end up being a great way even to express without having to say anything at all! It ends up adding to your personality without trying to make a point. The power that a slogan garment holds is underrated! Rather, clothing with slogans is breaking a lot of mind sets and are going nowhere for years to come!

However, we at Exhale Label, believe in trying to spread positivity and kindness which currently the world really is in need of! In a very subtle way, a slogan ends up acting as a great catalyst towards self-expression with our tees like:

· ‘Survivor’

· ‘MOOD’

· 'Don't talk behind my back'

6. Do you think COVID-19 has changed the way we dress forever?

Yes, Covid has certainly changed the way we dress (hopefully) forever. The past year has flown by in the most comfortable attire - sweats and hoodies! Life is resuming and people are going back to the office and shopping for more formal clothing but the behaviour patterns have definitely shifted, people are more conscious towards a made in India product and very vocal for local which we are truly grateful for.

Empowerment & Pride

People can act as a billboard for social change! Garments which talk about mental health, are meant to be more than a style statement: they’re an attempt to create solidarity with people struggling with mental health issues to show they’re not alone.

‘Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Excitement, Joy and Mood…’

We are all in this together!

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