Yesterday, 6th December, I attended a one-day conference, Voices of Fashion on Mental Health, held King’s College. The conference was organised by iCAAD – Europe’s leading conference of behavioural, mental and emotional health.
The core aim of the event is to address how we best protect both the fashion industry’s creative energy and the mental health of the people working within the sector.
Speaker line-up and topics
- On Diversity and Mental Health in Fashion – Caryn Franklin MBE, fashion and identity commentator, Professor of Diversity at Kingston School of Art
- Mental Health in Fashion with Dr Carolyn Mair, chartered psychologist and author of ‘The Psychology of Fashion’.
- ‘Development and Understanding of Mental Health and Safeguarding within Talent Management’ with Samantha Parker, co-founder of Music Support and mental health advocate for the UK music industry; and Chula Goonewardene, BACP-registered counsellor and psychotherapist.
- ‘The Kindness Method: Changing Habits for Good’ with Shahroo Izadi, behavioural change specialist and author of The Kindness Method: Changing Habits for Good
- ‘The Disrupter’s Vision’ with Fabian Hirose, management consultant; Anabel Maldonado, fashion journalist and founder of The Psychology of Fashion; Farah Liz Pallaro, educator and author; Lillie Naor, art therapy-based organisational consultant; and Tamara Cincik, founder and CEO of Fashion Roundtable.
- ‘Courageous Conversations’ with Sonny Hall, model, poet and recovering addict, and Dr Phil Hopley, consultant psychiatrist and managing director of Cognacity.
I had the opportunity to listen to Samantha Parker and Chula Goonewardene as they covered ‘Development and Understanding of Mental Health and Safeguarding within Talent Management’. Their lecture resonated with everyone and there were a few insightful questions that emerged all throughout the session.
I also met a number of interesting people during the event, including Peter Sioen, a clinical psychologist who has 25 years’ experience, which includes 15 years as a conflict mediator and 10 years a psychological coach, working successfully with hundreds of clients.
Earlier this year, models like Cara Delevingne and Adwoa Aboah are at the forefront of a new wave of women speaking out about their struggles in the fashion industry. Behind all the glamour and fun, young models suffering from depression and eating disorders are calling out for attention.
The fashion industry is a popular career path for many. While it’s exhilarating lifestyle, scope for creativity and magnetising environment are all positive attributes, the chaos and excitement can be a double-edged sword; leading to mental health issues, stress, low self-esteem and ultimately addiction and substance abuse at its very worst.
I hope that iCAAD will host more similar events like this in the future to further shed light on the stories of models who had to deal with mental illnesses.