Fashion Line Lifts Stigma Around Schizophrenia, Gives Back
An exclusive interview with Michelle Hammer, founder of Schizophrenic, NYC.
What inspired you to start your brand?
“Having Schizophrenia makes it hard to work in a corporate environment. I’ve worked with many different organizations as a graphic and web designer.
I was riding the F train and I saw a homeless man talking to himself in the same way that I do it. Then I realized what the difference was between me and this man. I have a support system that he doesn’t have. Although I am schizophrenic, I am lucky. I have family, friends, and a doctor. Without them, I could be in this man’s position. I then thought to myself that I had to do something that would raise awareness for mental health in NYC and help out with the mentally ill homeless.
This is why a portion of the profits of Schizophrenic.NYC are donated to organizations that help out with the mentally ill homeless.”
Describe what your brand does and goals you have for it.
“Many of Schizophrenic.NYC’s clothing designs have the Rorschach Test. The Rorschach Test inkblots are interpreted, and based on responses, deductions are made. The Schizophrenic.NYC Rorschach Test design idea is that when the unmedicated person with Schizophrenia looks at a solid black regular test they will see it from a very different perspective. I have switched up the patterns and colors inside the test, and now everyone looks at that test from a different perspective. I talk to many people when I set up a pop-up shop in New York. I tell them about Schizophrenic.NYC and myself and often great conversations start. People are encouraged to talk about mental health and the struggle either they, a family member, or a friend go through. This is great because people are now talking about mental health. People becoming more open to talking about mental health is a huge goal of Schizophrenic.NYC. “
How has your brand helped those suffering with schizophrenia?
“I can only hope that I show the world that just because you have Schizophrenia doesn’t mean you can’t live a “normal” life.”
Check out Michelle’s online store today at Schizophrenic.NYC