There are few industries as merciless as fashion, but Unfiltered Society is making a change for the better
Following the birth of her first child, Jessica Ellis suffered with severe postnatal depression and PTSD. Postnatal depression comes with its own particular brand of stigma, with studies showing that new mothers are being deterred from opening up about how they're feeling for risk of being branded as a "bad mum". But in April 2017, Jessica began blogging as The No Filter Mum, sharing everything from her personal experiences with mental health, to photos of the unfiltered realities of motherhood.
Before long Jessica had built a dedicated following of fellow mums who could relate to the, often hidden, truths of motherhood. But the blog was only the start of her activism. “Fashion has a role to play in creating a culture where mental health stigma is filtered out of society," said Jessica. And so Unfiltered Society was born.
Unfiltered Society is a new fashion lifestyle brand dedicated to campaigning for, and supporting, mental health charities. £10 from each sale of an adult sweater, and £5 from each children’s sweater, is donated to a mental health charity. At the checkout, the customer can pick which charity to donate the money to, with a choice of the Association For Post Natal Illness (APNI), Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), In Charley’s Memory, the Mental Health Foundation, and YoungMinds.
The brand has ethics at heart. The sweaters are made from 80-100% organic cotton which has been fair wear certified, and every photo on the site is completely airbrush-free. But after her own experience with mental illness, is this project personal? “Definitely," Jessica tells Happiful. “After having severe postnatal depression for eighteen months, it took me a long time to accept how unwell I had been and to talk about it openly.”
Jessica’s vision is that the sweaters will help spark conversations about mental health. “It's surprising how many mums have talked to me about their own mental health at the school gates simply because they heard about Unfiltered Society.” She says, “As soon as I wear a sweater they know that I'm up for having an unfiltered conversation about anything and everything.”
With a number of high-profile ambassadors, including the award-winning mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin MBE, Unfiltered Society is set to make waves in the national conversation.
“We've come a long way in the discussion surrounding mental health,” Says Jessica, “But we still have a way to go. I want to be a part of that, I want to make a difference.”
Read more about Happiful's investigation into ethical fashion here