Clothing therapy aiding in mental health

Large glass windows of the the formidable Selfridges department store are filled with vibrant colors, kitschy doll heads, and knick knacks that stop you dead in your tracks on the London pavements.

These window displays were curated by famous artist and Advance style star Sue Kreitzman that promoted a new seminar with Dr. Victoria Tischler, LCF Senior Lecturer in Psychology, on Feb 25th discussing using creative outlets to aid in mental health and wellbeing.

 

Unfortunately I didn't get to go to this talk but it sparked an interest in the idea of art and fashion as therapy. Outsider Art or Art Brut were introduced in the 1920's by Dr. Walter Morgenthaler, who published a book about one of his patients and his epic artwork as therapy. Outsider art now comprises of work done outside of museums and art studios by "uneducated" non-artists. Mental patientspeasant or folk art, and prison art are all Art Brut, and also exposes the psyche of the artist. 

Marie Suzuki "Nobody can see" 2007

Marie Suzuki "Nobody can see" 2007

Jesse Reno - Obey the Tribe

Jesse Reno - Obey the Tribe

Considered to be edgy, disturbing, beautiful, and visionary. It's a porthole for the viewer to see the world in an unconventional way. Everyone is drawn to Outsider art as it shows us visions and feelings we dare not see or feel ourselves. To surface uncomfortable hallucinations by people considered outcasts, undesirables and unstable, it's a therapeutic outlet for the artists as well as introduce art style that were not trained by traditional art standards. Artists such as Yayoi Kusama who has influenced art and fashion worlds since the 60's is celebrated for her polka dot artwork referencing her hallucinations she has had since birth.

 

As a chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS), the research of Dr. Tischler has been mainly focused on the use of creative approaches to enhance health and wellbeing. She raised the point that in the fashion industry, which encourages and celebrates innovation, creativity and eccentricity, the issue of mental health has largely been ignored.

At the London College of Fashion (LCF), the campaign Making Mental Health Fashionable brings together artists, curators, psychiatrists, psychologists, designers, policy makers and those with mental health problems to develop ideas and projects to change our views about mental health and to challenge negative perceptions about mental illness. The aim is to fashion the meaning of mental illness into something more positive and desirable.

The allure of outsider art is testament to the appeal of the talents of those on the periphery of society. Combining this with the innovative and style-setting powers of the fashion industry as a collaborative venture promises much.

Another great read regarding art, fashion, and mental health is from the conversation.com here.