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Fighting mental health stigma with fashion

Temporary Malfunktion

3. Good Health and Well-Being 4. Quality Education 10. Reduced Inequalities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

Temporary Malfunktion was originally set up as a creative outlet by its owner, Dylan Hart- who studied fashion at the time. Hart demonstrates a quantum leadership role, as he is proactive and looking to the future- researching and carrying out the most recent and innovative methods of business. What started off as a t-shirt brand, that included images aimed to represent different mental disorders and the feelings revolving around them, whilst also raising money for Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and Papyrus the Scottish suicide prevention charity- has now developed into a promising start-up business, that is now becoming internationally recognized. Due to sustainability efforts, the company is vastly producing most of their work in an online and graphic design- including a virtual catwalk, Non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) etc. to tackle the issue of waste and sustainability, a widely recognized issue in fashion.

Given the foregoing, Temporary Malfunktion addresses the following UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):

Number three- Good health and well-being

Number four- Quality education

Number ten- Reduced inequality

Number twelve- Responsible consumption and production

Number seventeen- Partnership for the goals


Author

Joni Bairstow

Joni Bairstow

School

University of Strathclyde

University of Strathclyde

Professor

Duduzile Rance

Duduzile Rance

Innovation

Temporary Malfunktion aims to promote discussion about the current state of treatment of mental health within the UK and help tackle the stigma that exists around it. Hart states that the decision to have some of the profits go towards SAMH and Papyrus was a ‘no-brainer’ as they are doing vital work to help combat mental health stigma in Scotland. Hart’s initial plans were to leave the development of Temporary Malfunktion until after he had finished university, however, due to circumstances to do with his personal life and mental health he dropped out. He was becoming increasingly indignant at the failing mental health system that the UK has and how little the education system factors in student wellbeing, especially in terms of mental health. Hart wants to help tackle this and assist those working towards it already- with his current collection raising money for Papyrus, the Scottish suicide prevention charity.

The brand focuses on creative innovation and strays away from anything analytical- this also flows into the idea that mental health is personal and not a linear problem. Each person has a different experience with mental health, and there is not just one universal ‘fix-all method’ despite the fact this is often the way it is treated.


Fighting mental health stigma with fashion

Inspiration

Ayr born Hart, started up the company after dealing with his own mental health issues and watching close friends around him deal with similar ones. A common theme throughout everyone he talked to it about, was the stigma they felt about getting help and talking about it. People feared being called names or being perceived differently by those around them just for struggling. Even if they reached out most people did not receive the help they needed, whether it was being brushed off by doctors, long waiting lists, the medication that did not work… the list goes on. Hart uses his creative talents to portray his emotions, using a mixture of different media- both electronically and by more traditional methods; from here he produces clothing items. Hart said, “Fashion design is one of the most conversational forms of creativity and in order to break the stigma around mental health we need to talk about it more!”. The central idea in his collection revolves around a ‘glitch in the system’ with Hart stating it “seemed to align perfectly with what I was experiencing with panic attacks and anxiety”. From here he designed images that were then to be printed on t-shirts to raise money for SAMH.

Not only this but Hart aims to tackle the issues of fast fashion- with sustainability being a key part of the DNA of the brand. Due to the brand’s digital approach with a decentralized three web structures, this means the brand is zero waste. The only physical option they offer is custom one-off pieces that incorporate scrap fabric wherever possible.


Overall impact

Temporary Malfunktion intends on involving its community more in the creative process, by inviting people to share their own creative interpretations of their personal experiences with mental health/illness. To promote using creativity as a healthy coping mechanism as well as build support networks to join people together and help find people with similar experiences. They are also aiming to join global efforts and take part in events such as New York fashion week and collaborating with companies/designers with similar values- whilst also encouraging brands to adopt similar values, especially in terms of sustainability.

Mental health affects everyone, in some shape or form, so the values that the brand reflect are extremely important to Temporary Malfunktion. Not only this, but the aim is to have the brand accessible to everyone, to translate the fact that good mental health help should be available to everyone- no matter who you are or where you come from.

Their zero-waste methods mean that they are likely to always have a very low carbon footprint, which is also a lesson they wish to consistently teach in every aspect of the brand and hopefully lead by example for others.


Business benefit

The business's ideologies make up the very essence of the brand and the philosophies that started up the idea are heavily embedded into everything the company does and produces. Temporary Malfunktion has a lot of opportunity for growth and shows a promising future. Its innovative ethos allows a lot of room for progression and resilience throughout the changes of time. There is a lot of room for change to be made in both the mental health world and fast fashion/sustainability world, meaning there is plenty for Temporary Malfunktion to tackle and help change. Hart also mentioned that when coming up with the companies’ goals, the UN’s sustainability goals were a part of some of the research he conducted.

The four main business goals of the company are:

-Reducing the cost of fashion garments to increase accessibility- having Temporary Malfunktions being at least 10% cheaper than the average high-fashion garment

-Draw attention to pressing issues regarding mental health and gain the attention in seven different countries by Winter 2022

-Maintain a zero-waste business that focuses on sustainability and completely carbon neutral

-Promote collaboration with both businesses, creatives, and the consumer- having collaborated with at least 3 brands by Summer 2023


Social and environmental benefit

Temporary Malfunktion is at the start of their journey, however, they are already being noticed on an international level. Currently, they donate 5% of their sales from NFTs to Papyrus and encourage their collaborators to donate 5% also. With the previous initial t-shirt campaign, they donated 10% of the overall profits to SAMH.

In more long-term plans, they are aiming to grab the attention of the Government by using clearly thought-out shock value factors, to draw attention to the main issues and highlight that change is needed- both involving mental health and issues of sustainability/fast fashion.


Interview

Dylan Hart, Founder

Photo of interviewee

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Temporary Malfunktion

Temporary Malfunktion

Glasgow/Ayr, Scotland, GB

Business Website: https://medium.com/@dylanhartfashion

Year Founded: 2019

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Temporary Malfunktion was founded by fashion Scottish university student, Dylan Hart with the sole purpose to challenge mental health stigma, through the expression of art. From t-shirts to the cat-walk, the brand has begun to rapidly build traction and now becoming globally recognized for its aversion to fast fashion, donations to Scottish mental health charities and creative exploration of the mental health crisis.