With 2016 drawing to a close, this year has seen many social issues arise across the globe, ranging from poverty to politics, to drastic economic change. Whilst these have all been openly spoken about for a long time, mental illness; an issue that has been a massively unspoken, has now become a much more vocal and accepted subject to discuss. Throughout the world’s busy and chaotic industries, it can be argued that the creative industry is a far more affected group that others. Why does this occur? And how is the industry trying to help improve this issue?

Pyer Moss | New York Fashion Week 2016

Pyer Moss | New York Fashion Week 2016

The creative industry spans far and wide, reaching dancers of the Royal Ballet to fashion stylists, to models and the graphic designers at design agencies. However, being an incredibly competitive industry so focused on a state of perfection in all its forms, it no doubt carries extreme pressure and stresses that can lead to mental health issues. Furthermore, we live in an age where information is consumed at a much faster rate because of the technologies. The creative industry has to try and keep up with this demand and, in a way, are driving each other to take on more than possible, as they strive to keep up with competitors too.
Alexander McQueen A/W 2012

Alexander McQueen A/W 2012

The infamous fashion designer who took the fashion industry by storm, Alexander McQueen, who sadly committed suicide in 2010, is considered an example of this. Along with other issues, according to McQueen’s psychiatrist, he had been suffering from anxiety and depression for at least three years, and his workload was believed to have had a direct effect on his mental state, that contributed to his decision to end his life.

Yayoi Kusama

mental illness

Yayoi Kusama “I Who Have Arrived In Heaven” | David Zwirner, New York

On the other hand, being creative can be a helpful method of expression. For example Yayoi Kusama stated in an interview conducted by Grady T. Turner;  “by translating hallucinations and fear of hallucinations into paintings, I have been trying to cure my disease.” Her work is a direct translation of her visions and help her cope and try to understand not just herself, but the world around her.
In a recent event held at London College of Fashion, Caryn Franklin, Professor of Diversity in Fashion, Kingston University, outlines some of the support structures that exist in attempt to tackle this issue. Initiatives such as the Model Sanctuary set up by model Erin O’Connor, offers nutritional, relaxation and counselling support for models during London Fashion Week, having forged a path to address the potential mental issues models specifically may face.
Thom Brown | LFW Mental Clinic

Thom Browne | LFW Mental Clinic

Although perhaps it is time to address the creative industry as a whole, not just fashion industry; graphic designers, illustrators, dancers, and directors all suffer similar stresses and need the same help and support. It has been said that it be can “too simplistic to cast [creatives] as ‘victims’ driven mad by a cruel and ruthless industry”, perhaps rather than shift blame, mental health issues within the creative industry needs to be recognised, and support systems put in place so creatives can survive and enjoy their passions and careers safely.

Moss. P. New York Fashion Weel 2016. Available at: http://mashable.com/2016/02/14/erykah-badu-kerby-jean-raymond-fashion/#Qvpk5g6k6Pqf
Moss. P. New York Fashion Weel 2016. Available at: http://mashable.com/2016/02/14/erykah-badu-kerby-jean-raymond-fashion/#Qvpk5g6k6Pqf
Kusama Y. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2016/06/02/yayoi-kusama-mirror-infinity-room-installations-pumpkins-chandelier-victoria-miro-gallery-exhibition-london/
Kusama Y.”I Who Have Arrived In Heaven”. David Zwirner, New York. Available at: https://worleygig.com/tag/illuminated/
Kusama Y. Quote. Interview conducted by Turner. T. G. Available at: http://bombmagazine.org/article/2192/yayoi-kusama
McQueen. A. Autumn Winter 2012. Available at: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/80/6d/4f/806d4f91883d8c6885295e54db3cd39d.jpg
Browne. T. London Fashion Week 2016. Mental Clinic. Available at: http://achangeofheart-satiney.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/welcome-to-thom-brownes-mental-clinic.html