The ‘Trailblazers’ section on our blog has finally launched! We created this section to showcase some of the incredible things that are happening on the East Coast of Canada. Our goal is to highlight individuals that are doing important, inspiring and groundbreaking work!
Our first trailblazer is Kayley Reed, CEO and Creative Director at Wear Your Label! We’re consistently inspired by the strong, fierce and talented women in our community and Kayley is no exception. Check out our interview below and don’t forget to check out Wear Your Label’s new winter collection here. (We’re currently obsessed with their new olive tee that says “your body is not the enemy” scroll down and you’ll see Kayley rocking it!)
Favourite Travel Destination: France & anywhere sunny!
KR: Throughout university, I struggled with depression; it was something that I barely spoke about to anyone in my life. I felt a lot of self-stigma and was scared of really speaking about what I was going through. Eventually, my depression developed into an eating disorder, and while I was still in denial, I realized that I needed help. I started group therapy and met other people who “got it”. It was one of the first times in my life that I felt that I wasn’t alone. In my final year of university, I started volunteering at a local mental health organization, working on different programs to engage young people in mental health advocacy. There, I met Kyle, who was also working on similar projects. We both connected over our personal experiences with mental illness and were frustrated with the stigma. We realized that we could potentially use our experiences to create something positive… we both loved fashion, so we came up with the idea to put mental health labels on clothing to both raise awareness & give back to mental health charities. That idea continued to develop, and grow; we received support & funding from the University of New Brunswick to launch our first products, and have been building on that ever since! Today, Wear Your Label is a fashion brand that designs positive products to create conversations around mental health & donate back to mental health initiatives across North America.
KR: Because I’ve been there. I know how isolating it can be to struggle with mental illness; how you can find yourself in denial of what you’re going through, or not ever wanting to get out of bed. I guess I feel a kind of responsibility to share my story and bring this invisible issue to light. I want others to know that if they’re struggling right now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it will get better. You can live with mental illness and build a successful, happy life.
KR: Educating yourself is important. Knowing the statistics and understanding mental health is key to positively contributing to the mental health conversation. 1/5 people live with mental illness, but 5/5 of us have mental health. We all get stressed out, nervous, sad, mad, anxious, and happy at times. We all need to take care of our mental health in order to be the best versions of ourselves. And we all have a part to play in ending the stigma; it’s easy to feel disassociated from an issue when you’re not personally affected, but understanding that mental health is just like physical health can help bring together more allies.
KR: I love the East Coast. It’s funny because I’m actually from Alberta. I grew up in Alberta and only moved to New Brunswick 5 years ago for university – I stuck around because it was where our support was for Wear Your Label. But honestly, it’s a special place. There is so much opportunity for young people – so many supportive programs, people, and organizations – and the quality of life for the cost of living is pretty amazing. I do a lot of traveling to bigger cities (like Toronto) and am able to build relationships that way, but I haven’t yet been persuaded to move because I don’t feel the need to. The wonderful thing about the age of the internet is that you can kind of run a business from anywhere.
KR: Exhausting, but rewarding
KR: I’m a creative, so I love to write, sing, play with mixed media and make art that isn’t related to Wear Your Label. I’m also big into #SelfCareSundays – they’re part of my weekly routine. I love lounging, hanging out with friends, a good Netflix series, snacks, bubble baths, and animal cuddles!! On the road, it can be a bit more difficult because my schedule is slightly out of whack, but I love walking around by myself in new cities, having some down time to find a cool coffee place, and I always watch comfort shows (TLC and classic movies) before bed 🙂
KR: It’s okay not to be okay. You’re hurting now, but this feeling doesn’t last forever. And to this point, you’ve survived 100% of your worst days. Don’t give up or lose hope – you are not alone.
KR: Ah, I’m always dreaming. The past two years have been amazing, and sometimes I can’t even believe we’ve made it this far. But I think 2017 is going to be “the” year. I am finally at a place where I am fully comfortable managing my own mental health, I’ve developed so much self-awareness, and at the same time, Wear Your Label has grown through challenges and obstacles. I never fully know what to expect, but I am planning an expansion in 2017 to take Wear Your Label to a larger audience. Right now, we’re just focusing on putting out new products, keeping up with demand, and growing alongside our community of followers 🙂