Today is World Mental Health Day, with the theme for 2017 being mental health in the workplace. The fashion industry, with its undercurrent of ego, impossible standards of perfection, and a group of mostly sensitive people who are emotionally invested in their work, and often feeling the strain of financial pressures, can sometimes be a recipe for disaster, and its mental health problem has been generally acknowledged.
The general consensus about working in the fashion industry is that at least for the first three years, you give a lot, get a little, so a real passion is a must. The problem is, passion can be easily exploited. And as it's an inspirational industry, there is always someone else waiting to take your place. This puts fashion workers, especially those early in their career, in a significantly weakened position. Even those with apparent success, such as Lee Alexander McQueen had, and many other top designers are not immune.
It's time to recognize the unique mental health challenges we face as an industry both in terms of, on average, a more neurotic and sensitive nature, as well as our extreme focus on ego and validation, and how to offset being immersed in this world. Demanding a change for fairer wages, security and working conditions also needs to be addressed.
Do you work in the fashion industry? How do you feel about your work conditions and their effect on your health?