Thursday 14 June 2018

Mental Health In Fashion: Depression & Self Care - Let's Talk About It

Hi all,

As most of you have probably read, the luxury fashion designer Kate Spade committed suicide on June 5th 2018 for reasons which are still not 100% clear, but it had been revealed that Kate Spade had been silently battling depression for years. When I heard the sad news my mind immeditely flashed back to that day in 2010 whilst on my foundation course at LCF that the highly acclaimed designer Alexander McQueen had committed suicide, both such genius creative minds gone far too soon, whose only form of escape they felt was to end it all. At some point we have to ask - what is the fashion industry doing about mental health?

In the fashion industry we are often applauded if we deprive ourselves of sleep for days at a time to complete a piece of work, run around like headless chickens days before fashion week (or in general) and then we wear exhaustion like a badge of honour because we think it shows we're 'committed' - In recent years I've learned that is complete nonsense, there is nothing cute about working till you drop.

In 2018 whilst there are steps towards progression in many areas, there are so many societal pressures that people are facing. Depression is something that is very common amongst people that we know, and it's not always easy to spot because people can be great at wearing a mask. Below I have come up with 8 tips that have helped me with my own struggles with depression and I hope they can help you too.

1.) Check up on your 'Strong Friend'

You know that friend we have - the one everyone goes to for advice, who seemingly has everything under control, knows what they are doing in life - yeah that friend. Check up on them, very often these friends keep everything bottled up and don't share how they are feeling. A simple call, or a text to say 'I'm thinking of you' or having a catch up over a coffee can really help. Everyone has their own personal hell they deal with and sometimes a simple interaction can totally transform someones day. As my mom always says, 'give people their flowers while they're alive' if someone crosses your mind - reach out.

2.) Have Daily Affirmations printed out and stuck up on your wall

Sometimes motivating yourself can be a mammoth task, so what I have done is printed positive affirmations such as 'I am great', 'I am fab' and stuck them on my wall so that when I get up its the first thing I see, and subconsciously it sinks in everyday.

3.) Keep a journal

From a young age my parents encouraged me and my sisters too write in a journal, which is probably why I enjoy blogging, I find it therapeutic. Writing is a great way to get everything out of your head and onto a page, sometimes I get a huge A2 piece of paper and literally just have a brain dump, I do this with my thoughts and feelings, pros and cons and also my ideas, sometimes I keep the piece of paper to remind myself how far I have come, sometimes I screw it up and throw it away, either way, I will have expressed myself and got my thoughts out of my head.

4.) Have a hobby outside of fashion

I believe it's very important to have a hobby completely different to what you do or what you revolve your life around. In my case fashion, so 3 days a week for an hour I go to the gym and do my legs bums and tums class, and honestly I love it, it helps me to relieve any stress that I have, it helps me keep active and releases endorphins, and by the time I leave I feel completely energised and I remind myself that I am Shara fucking Johnson, and I can do this! My next step for myself is too join some sort of dance class I'm thinking Kazumba / pole dancing / salsa.

5.) Turn Off Social Media for a few days

There is nothing worse than already feeling depressed and then adding to it by endlessly scrolling through the lives of people who appear to have everything worked out portraying an image that everything in their lives is 'perfect' - it isn't - Instagram is the highlights reel - and most of us know this and yet we still compare and put ourselves down. Whilst I don't doubt that social media should inspire people, its a great way to promote yourself and your talents, like anything too much of something can be harmful to you. What's worse is that if you work in fashion, having social media is usually most definitely a 'must have' criteria. I do not believe that we should be spending so much time consumed by what everyone else thinks or what they are doing in their lives. It can cause you to compare your life and make you feel inadequate, like you are falling behind and think 'why am I not where they are?', cause body dysmorphia if you are not happy with your body, make you feel that you are not excelling quick enough in your career etc. Let me be the first to tell you that 'comparison is the thief of joy', and you MUST preserve & protect your energy, your peace of mind, and what you allow yourself too consume, and sometimes it means taking a break from things.

My advice: Put your phone down for a while, or uninstall social media apps for a couple of days or a week. Sometimes I randomly just take breaks from social media for a month, because I have gotten so fed up with all the noise / distractions of what everyone is doing, and it feels great! I call it a 'Social Media Fast' and they are so necessary for me. 

6.) Listen to Motivational Audio

I most certainly have struggled with severe depression particularly when I graduated (graduate depression is very common and is often ignored by the industry), and still sometimes now. I was thrown into the real world, there was no structure, there was no aftercare / support from my university, oh and the endless amount of rejection letters I read from countless applications began to take its toll when a fashion brand / magazine would tell me I just 'wasn't the right fit' for them, and when I asked for feedback I was either ignored or the feedback didn't make sense - that hurt my soul - to the point where I couldn't get out of my bed, I would get palpitations and anxiety leaving the house, I was crying till my head hurt all the time, and would avoid going to social events like the plague because I didn't want to be asked the question 'Shara! What are you doing now? Hows the fashion going?' - to someone with depression that question feels like an attack / an interrogation. After a while my confident resilient bubbly nature had been chipped away at so much, the rejection began to affect me mentally (I'm actually crying as I write this). What really helped / helps me through those times is listening to motivational audio books and talks. I've began to retrain my thought process and retrain my mind to look at things from a different perspective. Not getting hired in the industry meant that I was forced to go freelance and have my own clients, set my own rules, spend more time on my blog, look for opportunities in unconventional ways. I now start every day listening to motivational audio and with a prayer. If you are struggling with depression, try meditating to some motivational audio / your favourite song:

Audio's to listen to:

TD Jakes: Building Your Vision From The Ground Up

Meditation & Affirmations

Phats & Small - 'Hey what's wrong with you?' (This is one of my fav songs ever lol)


Soar - TD Jakes
The Bible
Sh*t Happens
Don't Let The Bastards Get you down

7.) Talk to someone

I know it can be hard to talk to someone when you are feeling depressed. I've been there and I'm still getting there. Writing this post is the first time I'm being public about my struggle with depression with anyone outside of my immediate family, and as someone who likes to hold their cards very close to their chest and likes to only show me being fabulous and got everything 'together' (whatever that means), it was very hard to talk to anyone about it, out of fear people I know wouldn't understand, feeling like I was a burden and most of all out of fear that I would appear weak. But trust me, talking helps, it doesn't solve any issues, but it helps and eventually it can get better, talk to a friend, a family member, but if you can't or they don't understand there are services that can help below:

The 'Samaritans' helpline - 116 123

Luminous Counselling 

I actually had some counselling earlier this year, and I only had a couple of sessions but it helped.

Say this with me out loud

'I am not a failure, I am not a burden, I have purpose, my life is worth living and I am destined for greatness, my life and dreams matter'.

If you are a fashion graduate or someone that struggles with depression or suicidal thoughts and you have just read this article, I want you to know that you are amazing, you are beautiful and you are not alone, it can feel like it, it can feel like nobody else is going through what you are going through but there are people that can relate. Self care is so important, please don't neglect yourself. Take each day one day at a time, find joy in small things, like washing your hair, going for a walk - the other day I was so pleased with myself because I made a bad ass lasagne - sometimes we rob ourselves of tiny moments because we are so consumed with what we believe 'should be happening'.

I don't have all the answers and fashion is a competitive cut throat industry. I'm still trying to work things out myself, but I hope that this post has helped someone in some way, it's definitely helped me just writing it, and if you ever need to talk my email address is

Thank you for taking the time to read this

Lots of Love and Hugs
Shara xxx :)


Monday 11 June 2018



Trousers: Zara
Bodysuit: Zara
Shoes: Zara
Sunglasses: Ebay

Hi all!

I've just got back from a marvellous weekend in London, and although Birmingham is and always will be my home, London definitely has my heart. There is just so much to do, places to go, new things to try - my weekend was jam packed. I had a filming session with the fashion network I'm a part of called 'The Junior Network', I went raving until 5:00am (oh my gosh I was so mash up I can't do it like I used to lool), I went to the gym, and had a lovely walk with my Mr before meeting up with some friends to double date for dinner, which is why I wore this fabulous mustard outfit.

The combination of yellow & mustard against brown skin is just so beautiful and makes my melanin pop, I definitely feel like it's my favourite colour for the summer.  These paper bag trousers are light and not restrictive for this warm weather, and ladies if you've got some junk in your trunk like me, then these trousers are perfect! I usually find it difficult finding nice trousers that fit my waist and bootay, but these trousers in a medium from Zara are everything!

To make this look more casual for a walk in the sun and some dinner at a Mexican restaurant, I simply paired the outfit with these leather flats from Zara and a nude clutch with a gold chain.

After dinner my Mr and I headed to Shoreditch to a neo soul music event, so I switched it up to an evening look by putting on these gorgeous multicoloured slingbacks.

I'm obsessed with tops and bodysuits with this shape at the moment, they are so simple and yet very sexy.

Over all I had another fab weekend, I'm ready and energised to have a productive week, have a good week everyone :) xx

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