In Music We Trust, Fashion & Mental Health Awareness.
Mental Health has certainly been one of most prevalent topics of 2017. Finally, the issue of mental health and the ability to open about it has become a priority, for companies, government, organisations and the media. Mental Health is an issue for all of us. But for some people, it has been an issue before it was trending on social media, it has been a part of life, an issue and in this case the motivation and catalyst of In Music We Trust the brand.
I was fortunate to discover In Music We Trust via Twitter, and with an interest in mental health issues myself and brands that tend to offer something more beyond the obvious retail value, I found this one intriguing. By following the clothing brand’s social media, I was followed by Aiden Hatfield, founder, proprietor. I have watched over months his consistent passionate exchange with his followers, his promotion of Mental Health issues, his championing of the cause, through one simple message “In Music We Trust.” He is open, communicative, encouraging and uplifting in dialogue, wit and talent.
Aiden Hatfield is first and foremost a musician, he is passionate about music, his music, all music. It is as his slogan on one of his branded t-shirts states “Music is my Medicine.” What makes Aiden admirable is the fact he has used his passion for music to serve as a platform to raise the issue of mental health awareness, on his own as an individual, simply because he felt the need and the desire. This is not a vague faceless campaign or something he simply pays lip service to, he puts his thoughts and feelings and shares his own journey with mental health on the line and in the public domain in the desire to help and inspire.
Mental Health is something we all have, it is the state of our mental health that is the consideration. The stigma attached to simply mentioning the issue or appearing to have any problems has been a painful issue for many people in the past. Thanks to the work of people like Aiden, difficult conversations are currently being had, discussion, debate and coming forward about poor mental health, what it takes to reach a good state of mental health and what part we can all play in moving the issue forward and helping one another. There is no shame in admitting to having a problem, suffering from depression does not mean you’re “lazy” as Aiden himself worried initially the label of depression would imply about himself.
Aiden first experienced a significant decline in his own mental health after experiencing the triple whammy, a relationship break-up, a bereavement and unemployment in a short space of time. At this stage he hadn’t yet been diagnosed with depression. Aiden hadn’t fully realised or admitted that he actually was suffering from anything. He knew he didn’t feel good, in fact the complete opposite, he was disconnected in an unhealthy, negative place within himself in a downward spiral and needed to do something, to feel better, feel connected. He talks about how he managed to find temporary work in a retail store over a Christmas period and pooled his wages from this to purchase his first batch of T-Shirts having long wanted to start a clothing line, and thus his company was born, the beginning of a new journey. He already understood that music was his channel for feeling better, his passion, his outlet, his medicine. He knew that he wanted a clothing line, through his own personal experiences with depression and a subconscious realisation of a problem, he found a way to acknowledge that he actually had a problem. This enabled him to address it, as is exemplified with the very slogan, In Music We Trust, he had already began to explore his own issues.
First step, the acknowledgement that he had a problem. Aiden admits that itself didn’t happen overnight. When taking part in a tv segment and answering some questions behind the scenes, it was only when the producer said to him “So, you’re suffering from depression yourself?” that he realised indeed what all of his actions and feelings had been about, she’d unwittingly called it by it’s name and he admitted it there and then to himself as much as to her, from there he went on to eventually open up to his family, friends and over time the rest of us about what it means to have and recognise depression.
Aiden is very honest about the fact that he hasn’t always been so open about how he feels and that the journey itself has provided him with a massive learning curve. What he does know for sure is that he feels it is essential for him to be involved with something he is passionate about. It’s important to have something on the horizon, looking forward, working towards. He attributes working on his music with his band Coloured In Silence to being very much a part of this and working on his clothing line In Music We Trust which he runs himself to being very much the tools by which he works through his emotions and keeps his mind healthy, active, challenged and ultimately happy.
What’s even more endearing about Aiden is not only did he use his passion for music to inspire his clothing line and his entrepreneurial motivation to bring it to fruition, he then pledges a whopping 50% of the brands profit he makes through the clothing line straight to Mind the charity in support of mental health awareness.
He initially spent time researching whom to support and diligently looked at what various charities did for the mental health community. His initial commitment was to the Depression Alliance which subsequently was taken over by Mind, thus he maintained his pledge and passion for the cause and supports the charity by way of donating 50% of the profits from the profits.
For a young musician of 28, for an entrepreneur growing a clothing brand this is a remarkable commitment, it demonstrates true philanthropy towards something he believes in, cares about. Ultimately, he is supporting you, because you, us, we all have the ability to access the services of Mind, and all of us need to take care of our mental health, to be aware of it, embrace it and not feel ashamed to address it or ask for help should we need it. Aiden’s approach to his brand is clearly about putting people at the centre of it, it’s not about profits over people.
Aiden told me how invigorating the thought that had recently occurred to him, that he may never actually have a boss again had been. From our interview I gather that taking control of his circumstances, taking ownership of his present and his future is very important to Aiden himself as part of his mental health and well being. He is truly doing the admirable thing of being the change he wants to see, from the early inception of In Music We Trust, to the way he is working now, his actions have always spoken much, much louder than his words. Not to discount his words or lyrics, as he engages on a daily basis with the general pubic and his followers on his social media accounts, talking all things, music, mental health, life, essentially, talking, engaging, communicating, reaching out with positive support.
Aiden told me hat he felt it was important for us all to feel positive about something in our life.
“we all have negatives, these could be unhealthy relationships, jobs we’re unhappy with, living in poor conditions or somewhere that makes us unhappy to be, it’s important to counterbalance this with something positive. “
For Aiden, his music, with his band, Coloured in Silence , along with the In Music We Trust line, are his positives, his constant journey and challenge, to keep him focused and motivated, to do well, to achieve greater for himself and to help others along the way.
Aiden is also an advocate for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He is passionate about the need for balancing our mental health by maintaining our physical health to the best of our ability. Not necessarily in the gym, he is quick to point out he himself is not an avid gym attendee, but does exercise at home, eat well and ensures he gets enough sleep. “Sleep is really important, so you can re-charge, too many people underestimate its importance” he tells me.
Aiden does confess his guilty pleasure to me thought, before I paint him as a total bastion of health, he lets slip he actually has a rather sweet tooth. His most recent naughty treat was in fact a Black Forest Gateau “gorgeous, lots of cream” he informs me. As he continues to explain, that though he believes in good health, it’s about balance, not being all consumed by it, just essentially taking care of yourself and enjoying the odd treat, good for the soul, a lot like music then! Depression certainly does not define Aiden, his actions do.
Aiden has no particular genre he feels to be most significant over another with regards to it’s value to our well being and is rather complimentary about a cross section of songs from a range of artists and genres. He drives home the point again that essentially “it’s about how the music makes you feel.” I was little taken aback when he confessed to the One Direction song he had become rather fond of and couldn’t stop singing in the past to his surprise having not realised whom the band was he was singing along to until told by his employer, but felt no stigma. It was in fact, Story of My Life. He purchased his first guitar from his paper round and gift money aged 13, and has never looked back in terms of pursuing his love of music. He has sung with different bands over the years, worked as a session artist, teaches music also, but now, seems to have truly found his place, his niche in his band Coloured in Silence, along with his clothing line currently being sold via the online store he set up and has run himself from the very beginning.
His ambitions do not stop here, Aiden who has been responsible for all aspects of the brand (he even models the range along with band member (Millie Whittaker) would like to be able to employ more people at some point to handle some of the day to day aspects of the sales and promotion of the brand. He would utilise his time then to further develop his reach in terms of making video’s, more collaborations, having other artists present opening up debate and discussion in terms of music and mental health. He has many plans going forward, his energy and enthusiasm are boundless, positive and inspirational. He likes to be busy, this seems to also be a big factor in his mental health strategy, he is a parent, musician, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is a mental health champion and it is the balance and connect of all these things that serve to delight, inspire and motivate him every day. Talking with him, the positivity that comes through is pretty infectious.
Aiden admits there will always be anxiety, the rollercoaster of wondering if things will go well, if each adventure or project will be a success.
“Music gives me everything I need, but also the potential things I don’t want” This is the worry, sometimes the financial insecurity and all the other woes of life within the music industry, anxiety and uncertainty. However, by developing the clothing line alongside his music, Aiden has developed his own tools to channel his skills, passion, interest to keep him focused, grounded and connected.
I personally can’t help but to warm to Aiden and want to support the brand and encourage everyone else to do so. His vision, his motivation just seems so selfless, so compassionate, everything society lacks and everything it needs. His words ring clear in my mind as I debate going to the gym at the close of our interview;
“Focus and discipline are important, exercise helps with this, if you look good, you feel good, it’s a cycle. When you feel bad, you start to let yourself look bad, so you eat bad, then you feel worse and that’s a really vicious cycle.”
Consider me motivated, gym kit packed!
On that note I urge you all to give some support to the Aiden, Coloured in Silence have a new EP due anytime soon keep your ears tuned, also to the brand, In Music We Trust – take a look at the range, buy something (I have), for yourself or for someone else, it’s a really simple way to show support, for a musician, for an entrepreneur for a young man, who simply took the initiative to do something that potentially supports all of us.