Releasing on Monday 13th May, as part of the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week, ‘It’s OK to not be OK’ is a limited-edition unisex collection designed by five different artists and illustrators from around the world. Featuring three T-shirts, a long-sleeved jersey, a shirt, a pair of jeans and a tote bag, the project aims to raise awareness, change attitudes and encourage speaking up about mental health through various forms of creative expression.
Gemma Shiel, Founder and Creative Director, Lazy Oaf, said “I wanted to create a project to address something that affects me and many people that I know. Creativity and mental health are intrinsically linked in my world. I lose myself in creativity, for me it is where I find a source of therapy, it’s often how I communicate and it is my safety net. I've had varying experiences around mental health, and I know that just talking about it can be a terrifying leap, but can absolutely be the best thing to do. You don’t have to spill your guts, and just talking about anything is fine, but learning to open up to the right people and getting some emotional support can really make a positive impact. Time to change is an amazing organisation which focuses on extinguishing the stigma around talking about your mental health, they work with everyone and anyone including businesses to just encourage conversation, no judgement. Mental health is just as important as physical health…it’s totally ok to not be ok.”
Lazy Oaf will donate 100% of the profits from this collection to support Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma campaign, led by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. Passionate about changing attitudes around mental health, Time to Change works with thousands of schools, employers and local communities running campaigning programmes and workshops across England.
Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said “One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Yet even now, in 2019, many of us are afraid to talk about our experiences for fear of judgement. That’s why we’re thrilled to be partnering with Lazy Oaf on ‘It’s OK not to be OK’.
“Working with world renowned artists and ambassadors on such a powerful collection will help us reach new audiences to open up the conversation around mental health.”
Lazy Oaf’s goal is to spread this message as far as possible through both Lazy Oaf’s platforms and those of the creative talents who are the faces of the campaign. Spanning music, writing, acting, modelling and painting, these ambassadors include: Jordan Stephens (musician, actor and founder of mental health campaign IAMWHOLE), poet Charly Cox (author of She Must Be Mad and MQ Mental Health ambassador), actor Lily Newmark, model and body positivity activist Emily Bador, and musician & artist Laurie Vincent (Slaves)
The collection releases on 13th May 2019 as part of the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 and will be available to buy at www.lazyoaf.com and at the Lazy Oaf store, 2 Ganton Street, W1f 7QL
About the Artists and Illustrators
Lazy Oaf hand selected and briefed five artists from around the world to create a piece of work that they felt best translated “It’s Ok to not be Ok”. We were delighted by the results and the personal stories that came back from the people that created them.
- Joey Yu is a London-based illustrator, animator and curator. ‘Our emotions often seem magnified and reflected back at us in the things we do and the environment around us - maybe even if you do not say how you feel, perhaps others can see it in the things you create’ @itsjoeyyu
- Tara Booth is a painter and illustrator from the U.S.A. She hopes that the honesty and humour in her autobiographical comics will encourage people to open up and have conversations about sensitive topics like mental health, body image, sexuality and social norms. @tarabooth
- Pete Sharp is an illustrator based in South East London. His work is mainly Sci-Fi influenced with a focus on AI and the transition from one period in human evolution to another. Pete’s piece for this range relates to “sharing what you're feeling inside your head with others who are going through the same thing - hence the tagline "Stream of Consciousness" @petesharpart
- Based in Barcelona, David Mendez Alonso is a multidisciplinary artist and fashion designer. David's work brings us closer to dream worlds, unleashing his unique imagination in projects where he designs, draws, sculpts, installs, recreates, paints and plays without fears or limits. @davidmendezalonso
- Ellie King is an artist who works with ceramics and textiles. She is based in Melbourne and is inspired by everything from old cartoons to eBay photography. Ellie's drawing for this project was based off a porcelain cat she found while in a deep eBay hole and sums up what it means to her to feel flat. She says, 'Mental health when you are a creative can be hard and you need all the support you can get, that’s why this cause is important'. @rittleking
Meet the ‘It’s OK not to be OK’ Ambassadors:
Meet our five ambassadors for this campaign with Time To Change, each successful in their chosen creative field, spanning music, writing, acting, modelling and painting.
Jordan Stephens is a musician, actor and founding ambassador of anti-stigma mental health campaign #IAMWHOLE, launched in partnership with the NHS and YMCA.
Charly Cox is a writer, producer and poet. Her writing focuses on destigmatizing mental health, using writing as a form of therapy in her battle with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Charly’s first book ‘She Must Be Mad’ features her poems to date and she is an ambassador for MQ Mental Health.
Laurie Vincent is one half of British punk band Slaves and a painter, ceramicist and photographer.
Model, Activist and body positivity advocate, Emily uses her social media influence as a platform to challenge the fashion industry’s lack of diversity, highlighting the mental health issues that stem from these unrealistic beauty standards.
Lily Newmark is an actor having starred in the BBC’s Les Miserables, Netflix’s Sex
Education and critically acclaimed indie film, Pin Cushion.