Thursday, 13 October 2016

Behind The Brand: Maison de Choup

 
A brand that has touched my heart in a way like no other is Maison de Choup. As you all know by now, because I bang on about it with every chance I get, mental health is a subject that is incredibly close to me. It's something that I have struggled with personally, and it's also affected those that I care about most. I will always do anything that I can, no matter how small it may seem to help anyone that's struggling, or trying to come to terms with their mental state. When I discovered Maison de Choup through their social media, it was pretty much love at first sight. I spoke to the team over on Twitter, and we discussed the possibility of a piece being written all about how they started, and the story of George, who is the artist, and founder of the whole business. Within less than a day, he had gotten back to me regarding the post. All of his answers were so honest, and open, which is something that I 100%  admire, and appreciate. Who would have known that a fashionable brand could have mental health, and a major charity for young people at the heart of it? It just goes to show that even such a horrific tragedy can bring some hope, and happiness for other people out of it. Thank you, George, for being such a wonderfully inspiring person to us all. I'm sure that MDC will continue to grow as the months go on, and now everyone will know where to go if they want to support mental health, and feel fashionable at the same time!
 
 Inspiration behind the brand
 
In 2012, I came down with severe anxiety after experiencing drugs at a festival with some friends. The effect it had on me was cataclysmic, and made me home bound for about 3 years. I left college, and was unemployed. During this time, I was seeing a Psychiatrist, and eventually a CBT Therapist. About a year into my severe episode, I thought I needed a project to keep myself occupied, and to keep my anxiety at bay, so I started mocking up anxiety T-Shirt designs from the thoughts inside my head on the computer in my dad's office. After a few weeks, I started to realise that I could take this, and make it something beautiful. I sought some advice from my father, whereupon he told me to just go for it, and I did. About 1 year later, Maison de Choup was born. I had a developing brand, and some designs - one of these designs based purely on Anxiety, the now ubiquitous Words Fail Me T-Shirt. 25% of the proceeds from this particular design go towards the charity YoungMinds, which helps other young sufferers, who aren't in a position to go privately.
 
How did the name come about?
 
The name doesn't actually mean anything in French. It actually has a deeper meaning. The word 'Choup' was a nickname for my sister when I was younger. I thought it would be right to name it after her, as she was always there for support when I needed her most through some of the darkest years of my life. Putting 'Maison de' in front made it sound nice, and I really liked it. I get a lot of French people asking me about it!
 
Why a fashion brand?
 
I wanted something people could wear, and carry around a message with. When I started to build it, I realised there weren't any other clothing brands that made beautiful, organic clothing that gave back to mental health. MDC isn't just about Mental Health, despite that being a major part of the brand. It's also about creating comfortable, beautiful clothing that people love to wear. However, I wanted it to stay true to it's roots by being born out of anxiety, so I created the Anxiety led design range. This collection is one that people can wear feeling great, knowing that they have helped give to charity.
 
Background story
 
I've suffered with anxiety my whole life. It only subsided slightly when I was at secondary school, because I was so busy all of the time. It was at the end of school when everything started to effect me again. Then, in July 2012, I went to a festival with some friends, and experienced MDMA, which I didn't enjoy. I didn't realise the effect it was going to have on me until about 3 weeks after. I was outside with the horses when I felt my heart begin to race, and I started to sweat. I thought I had somehow digested the drug again, and I spiralled into a complete mess - it was a panic attack. The following 3 years were the toughest of my life. I had panic attacks almost everyday, and I couldn't leave my bedroom, let alone the house. I told my parents about the whole experience, and they were incredibly supportive. We then went to the doctor to find out what was happening to me, and it turned out I had severe anxiety disorder. For the next 6 months, I was seeing a Psychiatrist privately. He was working on me, and trying to figure out exactly what was causing the anxiety. After we found the problem (Drug Paranoia), he was putting me through the experience; he was using hypnotherapy so I got used to the feelings, and sensations. After that 6 months, I was deemed well enough to now see a CBT Therapist. He taught me all about anxiety, and coping mechanisms. During my treatment, I was building MDC, and started to gain more, and more motivation everyday.
 
It's incredibly important to remember that there is ALWAYS light at the end of the tunnel. There will always be hope. If you recognise that you suffer from a mental illness, then that is the first step to recovery. You WILL make it, and you WILL be ok.
 
 
Written by: George David Hodgson

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