Arts & Entertainment

Mental health, addictions take center stage at New York Fashion Week

By Nora Quintanilla

New York City, US, Feb 14 (EFE).- Fashion designers gathered Monday at the eclectic Break Free runway show during the New York Fashion Week to highlight the importance of mental health, self-love and asking for help to overcome addictions amid the coronavirus health crisis.

About 200 people drawn by the fashion proposals but also interested in the cause of mental health, showed up at the West Village to support the event.

A part of the proceeds from the show will go to 10,000 Beds, a non-profit organization which awards “treatment scholarships” to people battling addiction and unable to afford treatments.

Jean Krisle, founder of 10,000 Beds, said at the start of the show that it was time for the fashion industry, which sets the bar for society in many ways, to lead society into a much more open conversation about addiction and recovery.

One of the stars of the show was Svetlana Chernienko, a mental health activist with a large social media following and designer of the Wu-Sah eco-sustainable clothing line that features swimwear made with plastic bottles from the sea.

The designer told EFE that she wanted people to see that people like her, who face mental health problems, can send a message that there is nothing wrong with not feeling fine.

The event was organized by Alexandra Nyman, who dedicated her efforts to her little brother diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Nyman revealed that her activism began with the love and passion to make her brother feel like living again.

Nyman presented the first collection of her company, LadyCat, called “Therapy,” a representation of her own anxiety problems.

The collection began with a display of ensembles in dark shades to bursts of color, textures and reflections of light in the final outfits, among which stood out a short white dress with polka dots and another cream colored dress made out of a shiny fabric.

One of the models was Deni Carise, the chief scientific officer at Recovery Centers of America, a network of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in the US, who recounted her journey to recovery after being hooked to drugs when she began to model in the 1980s.

Carise, now a clinical psychologist and psychiatry professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said that though it was her modeling career, drug use, addiction and her recovery that had led her to this point, she had never imagined that she would have the opportunity to walk down the runway sober. EFE


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