#MENtalHealth: An interview with George Hodgson from Maison de Choup
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Leading the way in mental health awareness in fashion, George Hodgson from Maison de Choup speaks openly and honestly about the importance of opening up about mental health issues and seeking help.
Image credit: Camille Dupont
As part of our MENtal Health content series, The National Student sat down with George to chat about the story behind his brand and his thoughts on the issue of male mental health.
“Maison de Choup is a brand I started when I was suffering from severe anxiety and OCD,” he tells us. “It’s the fashion brand with a mental health cause at its heart.
“All the designs are based
Through its sensitive, subtle designs about mental health, along with its donations from sales to Young Minds charity, Maison de Choup can offer comfort to individuals who wear their clothing, while tackling the issue on a larger scale.
George tells us that the brand has greatly helped him personally. Through creating and building the brand, George has found Maison de Choup to be a powerful outlet. He describes the element of fashion as secondary to mental health awareness in the brand, with the meanings and messages in the designs central in every item.
“I wouldn’t say that fashion has helped me personally; I would say that the brand has helped me, absolutely,” says George. “I use the brand as a way of expressing myself.”
Recently, George has expanded his work to raise awareness of mental health beyond the brand, establishing himself as a vocal, influential advocate for the cause: “In terms of the brand… I would say [I], as a person, am a separate entity.”
As well as his clothing sales going towards Young Minds, he also works with the charity directly on their Amplified programme, which provides young people with a voice in the decision-making process of mental health services.
Additionally, through doing talks in schools, colleges and universities about his story, George is working hard to improve the ways in which young people are generally supported and educated on mental health.
Image courtesy of Maison de Choup
“When I was ill and I went to CAMHS, I was told I had to wait 40 weeks to receive the help,” he says. “Very luckily and fortunately, my parents would send me privately to receive the help I needed.
“As I started to get to better, I started to realise that there were so many young people not in that fortunate position, and that’s specifically why I want to help those young people to get them the help they need - to get them talking about it before it gets really bad like [it did for me].
“That’s why 25% goes to Young Minds charity - to help that charity help the young people… it’s very important to me.”
When discussing the struggles that many boys and men, in particular, have with opening up about their mental health, George says, “I think there’s still a long way to go in terms of getting more men to talk about [mental health].”
Image courtesy of Maison de Choup
Considering the societal pressures for men to “be seen as strong, leaders, alpha male”, George emphasises the strength in opening up about mental health issues.
“It’s strong to talk about how you’re feeling,” says George. “Find someone you love to talk about it… seek help where you think necessary because there’s nothing to be ashamed of when you’re suffering.
“It’s okay to be not okay.”
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