Northern Ireland group puts mental health at core of new clothing range
Ten young people from around Northern Ireland have designed a new range of clothing and accessories aimed at encouraging people to look after their mental health this winter.
The group, aged between 19 and 30, have been taking part in a two-week programme with The Prince's Trust called Start Up and Go, which aims to give young people a live experience of working in a design business.
In just two weeks, they came up with a concept, designed it, arranged the production and developed a marketing plan.
The young people decided on the concept of 'hygge', the Danish word that captures the feeling of cosiness, wellbeing and contentment for their products, which include a tote bag, sweatshirt and hoodie, all of which are eco-friendly and sustainably sourced.
They felt it is important at this time of year that people are reminded to take care of themselves and their mental health.
The group arranged the print at a local social enterprise, Mugshots Print, based in Hydebank Young Offenders Prison, which provides work experience and employability skills training to young offenders.
Cameron Campbell (19), from Belfast, has experienced difficulties with his own mental health and believes it is important for people to take time to relax and find something that brings them comfort.
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"I think people are having a brutal time with mental health at the minute," he said.
"If you have a broken leg, you go to get it fixed, but with mental health, people feel like they have to pretend they are ok when they aren't.
"I've had a difficult time with my own mental health and that is why I came to The Prince's Trust.
"I have had counselling with them and taken part in a few programmes that have helped me feel more positive and confident.
"Hygge is the idea that we all need to find time to do something we enjoy.
"That is why we chose it as the theme for our products, because we want to remind people to look after themselves.
"For me, hygge is spending time with friends and family, going to the cinema and writing, but everyone's version could be different," Cameron added.
Fellow group member, Tess Wishart (27), also from Belfast, added: "We do still need to speak up about our mental health and be aware that people are dealing with issues in their life, but not many feel that it's ok to talk."
The young people will be selling their products on Friday in Victoria Square and at CS Lewis Square between 10.30am and 3.30pm. They will also be available to buy online on Etsy.
All proceeds will be donated to the work of The Prince's Trust, which helps young people, aged 11-30, to develop the confidence and skills they need to realise their ambitions, so that they can live, learn and earn.