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How the It*s OK collection is showing up for the conversation on mental health.
Jan 25, 2022
Jan. 2022 | It*s OK
By Christine Kim
Every UPRISERS piece has a story that’s waiting to be told, voiced and elevated. We’re sharing the backbone and purpose behind the It*s OK design – and why we’re pushing it.
With each design created with purpose to amplify the stories of the underrepresented, we brainstormed the architect of the It*s OK design in hopes it would inspire deeper conversations and allow check-ins with ourselves by filling in the blank: It*s OK to ____. As our first mental health inspired collection at PacSun, It*s OK capsule is to create spaces for conversations, destigmatize mental health and impact collective healing through the voices of POC. We designed it with intention and impact in mind.
Let’s agree on one thing: 2021 was no ordinary year. As we endured a second round of the pandemic, we were also absorbing both macro and micro issues: global tragedy and social justice movements on top of navigating personal day-to-day responsibilities. Our upended lives needed anchoring. So, it makes sense that it's more important now than ever before to have honest conversations with ourselves.
That’s what we did. Last year, when the collection was in full production mode, there were various moving parts – Complexland2.0, Tway x UPRISERS, Family Market at ComplexCon, and Uprisers University with Asia Jackson. As the founder and creative director of UPRISERS, Michelle K. Hanabusa had a lot on her plate to say the very least. (Try not to dwell too long on what her Google calendar might’ve looked like – small business owners could relate). This collection embodies the reminder she needed during this season. Truth be told, behind her confident smile and contagious Zoom energy existed a Michelle who needed rest, a hug, a balanced lifestyle. Lesson learned: we’re not obligated to permanently be in a sprint, we’re allowed to journey at a slower pace when necessary.
Each It*s OK piece holds onto that reminder. When you’re wearing the pieces, zoom into the details and you’ll see an upside-down UPRISERS. Why place it midway of the shirt and upside-down? We intentionally wanted the logo to be in view of you and work as a reminder to show up for yourself.
Through this collection, we hope to create ample opportunities and spaces for meaningful discussions; ultimately, breaking down barriers so we can raise the collective standard. As we highlight mental health through the lens of the underrepresented, we’re working towards bringing awareness to provide inclusive representation and accessible resources.
If we want to prioritize our fitness, we go to the gym. If we want to eat healthier, we switch up our grocery list and go down the nutrition research hole. Making these intentional choices to improve our physical and emotional health is the same as seeking help for our mental health – just because the latter relates to the mind doesn’t make it less important.
We’ve sat down and shared uncut, honest conversations with Sage Adams (@sageaflocka), Paravi Das (@pxrxvi), and Atikhun Kanjanakaset (@atikhunk) on their mental health, ways they check-in with themselves and the importance of mental health awareness. Here’s snippets of what they shared.
“It's a really important string of words for me. On every single social media post, song release or anything, I always attach a tagline that says 'thank you for being here, not just on this video somewhere on your feed or on a song in your playlist but in this life – I appreciate your existence and I know a lot of other people do too.”— @pxrxvi, student + singer.
"Being able to control my emotions is a new superpower. I can feel myself getting upset, angry or anxious but I can speak and have a positive dialogue that's not to further the spiral. And that's an amazing feeling – to be able to pull myself from a scary place."
— @sageaflocka, artist.
"It doesn't matter the position or work they do, everyone has some sort of mental health struggle or have gone through it. So bringing people from different aspects of life is inspiring."
— @atikhunk, content creator.
With that being said, “Hey, It*s OK to _____.” It’s okay to fill in the blank however you need to and whichever feels right. Mental well-being looks different for everyone. Whether it means dedicating a few minutes to meditate, nap, journal or talk it out with a licensed counselor, we hope this collection reminds you that you’re not alone and we’re in this together. It goes beyond a design. Dive deeper into how we’re taking steps in shifting the culture around mental health.
Creative Director: @mkhanabusa
Creators: @pxrxvi @sageaflocka @atikhunk
PA: @allile @chrstne_k
Social Media Director: @kariokubo
Special thanks to @steezystudio @iiconnors