One day, as I was absentmindedly scrolling through my Instagram feed, something caught my eye. Something that I instantly fell in love with. Its brand. Its style. The concept. That something, was Maison De Choup.
Maison De Choup was born in 2014; after being conceived by young artist George Hodgson during a dark period of his life that was tormented by crippling anxiety. The minimalistic brand was an inspirational outcome that quickly evolved from notebook sketches and a single frustrated voice into a unique collective of young designers.
Maison De Choup is a fashion brand with a fight for mental health awareness at its core. Their products are ethically sourced and boldly simple; each design telling a different story that embraces mental health experiences in a genuine and meaningful way.
My personal favourite is the ‘Words Fail Me’ tee; a graphic of a jumbled word search which metaphorically sums up how I feel when I am unable to express my anxiety. Also, I coincidently found ‘MEG’ in the middle of the letters, so when I say this brand speaks to me on a personal level, I mean it!
Maison De Choup’s most recent range is ‘The Warrior’ collection. This range of t-shirts and hoodies reminds us that we are warriors, NOT worriers and highlights that we are stronger than our mental health. What makes the collection even better is that 25% of proceeds go directly to YoungMinds!
I was lucky enough to have a really lovely and honest chat with the man himself, founder George Hodgson. Here are a few questions he kindly answered for me:-
How and why was Maison de Choup created?
Maison de Choup was created whilst I was suffering from my severe anxiety and OCD episode of 3 years. I didn’t have a job and I’d left college, so I had all this free time on my hands. Using drawings and thoughts I had put in black notebooks during suffering, I came up with the idea of transferring them onto T-Shirts as a way of expressing the way I was feeling at the time and showing people what I was going through.
After launching, I wanted to give back to a charity that helped young mental health sufferers like me. When I was suffering, I had used YoungMinds’ website as a source of information to learn more about my illness. I decided I wanted to partner with them and give back 25% of all proceeds from certain designs; they very kindly accepted and we’re still partnered today. Since launching, Maison de Choup has grown into something amazing, and has become a source of inspiration for many sufferers, which is exactly what I wanted to create.
What is the story/inspiration behind the Words Fail Me and Warrior collection?
Words Fail Me was the very first T-Shirt we launched which donated 25% of proceeds to YoungMinds Charity. It’s the original icon and is still hugely popular 3 years later. The ‘Words Fail Me’ word-search sums up what anxiety sufferers feel when they are unable to express themselves and it also expresses what their families and friends feel at times too.
After the first collection we launched, there was a slight blip on the design side of the brand, so I took a year to step back and focus on exactly what I wanted Maison de Choup to be which was ’The Fashion Brand with a Mental Health Cause at its Heart’, well said by Vanity Fair. We worked on The Warrior Collection together with a designer who sufferers herself to create a collection in which every design depicted mental health emotions. The Warrior Collection launched May last year at a launch party we held in Shoreditch and the response was huge and incredibly positive. From every ‘Warrior not Worrier’ design, 25% goes to YoungMinds, continuing to support young mental health sufferers. Every design has a mental health meaning behind it.
Tell us about the charities you work with
Maison de Choup is partnered with YoungMinds Charity and from certain designs, 25% of all the proceeds go to them, helping young mental health sufferers. We are also proud to be supporting Heads Together which is a campaign to end stigma by sharing about mental health on all our social media channels.
Why do you think Maison de Choup stands out from other independent fashion brands?
Maison de Choup has a story, a deep and meaningful story that so many people can relate to. By being a brand that has such a potent story behind it, whilst also being a brand that people love wearing, they can feel great about wearing Maison de Choup knowing they are giving back to such a good cause and I think that outweighs a lot of brands. We also use 100% organic and ethically sourced cotton for our products. I believe a lot of brands nowadays don’t have a story and have no meaning behind them, which people are becoming less interested in.
What is your proudest achievement since launching Maison de Choup?
It would be hard to name just one, so I’ve chosen a few. The proudest achievement has got to be actually being able to create and launch Maison de Choup from such a dark place and to have come this far. Something else that I’m also very proud of though, is winning the British Fashion Startup Award in 2015. The fact that I managed to get up on stage and give a pitch in front of an audience and judges was something unimaginable for me. Rather excitingly, I was interviewed on BBC news about my mental health story and the brand which has got to be the highlight of 2017.
What does 2018 hold for you and Maison de Choup?
I believe 2018 is going to be a great year for Maison de Choup. 2017 was good, but I want to make 2018 even better. We are currently working endlessly on new designs which will be launching very soon and we’ve got some cheeky collaborations in store. I want Maison de Choup to be known as the brand that supports and actively promotes positive mental health in fashion, but not just in fashion, everywhere. In terms of myself, I already have a few public speeches lined up in schools, colleges and universities talking about mental health, my personal story, how I started Maison de Choup and inspiring people that they can get through their darkest period, it just takes time. Which is great! Here’s to another positive and prosperous year!
I ADORE everything about Maison De Choup:- the designs, the concept, the message and its founder. I urge every single one of you to check them out here!