Many artists and designers have chosen to explore the theme of mental health, whether as an observer or as a route to aid their own mental wellbeing. It is interesting that there seems to be a strong correlation between creative individuals and mental illness and a significant portion of the artist community have experience with a mental health problem. For example artist Yayoi Kusama who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder has said "If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago" and uses her artwork as a ‘self-therapy’. Her work has a definite obsessive tendency throughout, with a lot of repetition and pattern in works such as her ‘Infinity Net’ paintings and stuffed fabric installations and textile/fashion pieces. It would be interesting to see if the same kind of therapeutic feeling could be created through fashion garments intended to free the user from their oppressive mental thoughts.
|Infinity Net - Yayoi Kusama|
Another artist I have looked at is Natalia Pereira who created a series of photographs entitled ‘Dismorfobina’. (see http://emilytanfashion.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/mind-vs-body.html) The portraits depict faces which have been distorted using elastic in order to show the feeling of being uncomfortable in your own skin. They also expose how sufferers of body dysmorphic disorder might view themselves. These kinds of feelings could be brought into fashion using itchy and uncomfortable fabrics and awkward distorted silhouettes which are not visually pleasurable to look at. Alternatively garments could be presented in layers, outwardly trying to convey confidence whilst layers close to the body exhibit the true internal struggle and discomfort felt by the individual.