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These Fashion Brands are Breaking the Stigma

Doyenne X Hart Club collection

DOYENNE

LinkedIn added “dyslexic thought” to its list of skills that can be added to profiles in March. LinkedIn partnered with Made By Dyslexia, whose research has shown that dyslexics excel in creativity and problem-solving.

This important debate about neurodiversity being an asset rather than an obstacle sparked by the move. It is part of a growing movement that supports the neurodivergent community. Dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD are all examples of neurodiverse conditions. Recent Deloitte analysis from multiple sources shows that around 10%-20% of the world’s population suffers from neurodivergence.

Fashion is a key part of many neurodivergents’ creativity. Independent designers have spoken out about their neurodivergence experiences and created designs that reflect the lives of those who are not neurotypical.

Jake Posner, a fashion designer with dyslexia, is the label No One True Anything. It aims to share his vision of the world through its design. The brand’s “DEB-UT” collection includes embroidered words separated by hyphens to show Posner’s perception of words while reading and writing.

Posner says, “I have always shouted about dyslexia because it makes me unique.” I don’t want anyone, especially younger people to feel embarrassed or afraid to talk about their dyslexia. Neurodivergence, I believe, is a gift that allows you to think differently.

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DEB-UT Collection: No One True Everything

(c)SU KAYE

Leanne Maskell is an ADHD coach, coach, fashion model, and author of ADHD. An A to Z. Instead of following orders, you think outside the box and ask “why?” ADHD Coach: I am amazed at the creativity of all my clients. This is because they have an interest-based nervous systems. We can hyper-focus for hours if we are interested in something and produce exceptional quality work.

Posner believes that the tension between perfection in luxury fashion and his dyslexia creates a fascinating dynamic in his work. Perfection is the hallmark of fashion, particularly in the luxury, high-end sector. I want my pieces to be perfect, but with a little imperfection. Although the materials and production are perfect, the design might be slightly off or off-balance to create something people will be thinking about.

Simon Whitehouse, the founder of EBIT, believes fashion is a way to encourage dialogue and empathy about mental health, including neurodivergence. EBIT works with music and the arts, but just launched a sneaker collection. 10% of the proceeds will go to the National Autistic Society.

This collection examines the similarities between neurological conditions and footwear. Whitehouse says that 100 years ago, if someone had a mental illness, the label was “you’re crazy”. 20 years ago patients were given a diagnosis (schizophrenia, depression, or autism). Today, patients are placed on a spectrum that includes elements from multiple conditions.

“In an odd parallel, fashion footwear design has seen the same thing.” 150 years ago, sneakers weren’t even invented. It was 20 years ago that sneakers were not even invented. Modern footwear is hybrid. This was fascinating to us, and we were able to use it as a subtly raised awareness in the creative community.

Virtual sneakers by EBIT

EBIT

Whitehouse’s brother, who is suffering from schizophrenia, inspired his passion to tackle this problem. He is not ‘ill. His brain works in a unique and different way. I believe science, medicine, philosophy will one day create a society in which he’s not subject to the same stigmatization and prejudice as he is right now.

Doyenne, a female-run brand of skateboards, has partnered up with Hart Club to create a collection featuring two of their artists. T-shirts featuring messages like “Discomfort” or “You don’t see what you see” are included in the collection. A portion of the profits goes to Hart School, which offers free and accessible education to those who are often excluded from such spaces.

The spokesperson for Doyenne says that they are a brand committed to inclusion and felt that sometimes some identities were overlooked in this discourse. Especially neurodiversity and disabilities, so we decided to do a project with neurodivergent artists and people.

Doyenne X Hart Club collection

DOYENNE

This summer, the brand will release a short film featuring neurodivergent skaters discussing their experiences. The goal is to make clothing accessible to as many people as possible. We would like to see design consider neurodivergent bodies, who might have difficulty with certain colors, materials and wearability. The spokesperson stated that they are currently gathering stories and feedback to include into their clothes.

Maskell is happy to see the increase in collaborations between neurodivergent talent and brands, but he warns them to be fair with their collaborators. It’s difficult for brands to show neurodivergent conditions because they are invisible. Therefore, working with neurodivergent talent can be a great way to increase awareness and acceptance. It’s vital to mention that neurodivergent talent must be paid for their work.

Maskell was one of the models and brands that participated in the UK Parliamentary inquiry into body image. She says that brands had expected disabled models to work for free or were paying them less than non-disabled models.

Fashion is embracing neurodivergence more through independent brands such as EBIT, No One True Anything and Doyenne. While it’s possible for larger brands to participate in the conversation, they need to be cautious about how they approach it.

According to the spokesperson for Doyenne, “We hope that neurodivergence conversation continues in a manner that we can all have an authentic understanding of it. We need to leave behind stereotypes and offensive media representations. We hope that neurodivergent voices are included in these conversations and not just as a subject.

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