My name is Charlotte Robinson and I am the founder of Minus Cloud Nine, a clothing and accessories line which was born through very strange circumstances. Unfortunately, in 2014 someone very close to me was struggling severely with their mental health and I became a carer and support system for them. Despite my best efforts they continued to deteriorate quickly, eventually trying to commit suicide in front of me on multiple occasions, which in turn, led to me suffering from PTSD, anxiety and panic attacks for the foreseeable future. The scenario increasingly felt more and more impossible as time went on.
The individual would describe to me that they had a heavy dark cloud over their head that they just could not seem to shift, and I started to feel this myself and relate to it more, as a sort of symbol, representing how heavy life can feel.
From this, Minus Cloud Nine was born. It started off as a small uni project towards the end of my fashion and textiles degree, I decided to base the theme around the clouds. I drew up my cloud head illustrations and cloud girls, sticking to a monochrome colour scheme to represent the good, bad and grey days.
Dealing with PTSD, depression and anxiety was extremely tough, previous to this I had little to no knowledge about mental health. However, I knew I wasn't alone and my illustrations could be a great way to connect to others who could be feeling the same way and found them relatable.
I started designing, printing and embroidering my illustrations onto clothing and jewellery, with 10% of all profit going to Mind Charity. All my clothes are completely sustainable, made from only organic cotton, recycled polyester and fair wear approved. I personally handprint or embroider everything in my workshop. The idea of MCN is to open up those difficult conversations, put an end to the mental health stigma and ultimately raise some money for Mind and other charities that need it.
I created the hashtag #whyiwearthecloud for people to share their own mental health stories and it's crazy to me how many people have supported, and send me lovely messages and pictures wearing my designs around the globe, it's amazing! It's surreal to think my vision for bringing people together is working, it's not just a clothing brand to me, it's a community. Let's educate each other, share helpful tips, coping mechanisms and just connect!
Mental health is less of a taboo subject than it once was, but there is still lots to be done (gents, that means you too!).
People are acknowledging and relating to their own little clouds more than ever, especially in these times of uncertainty.....
So whoever is reading this, 2020 has been really hard, try to be kind to yourself and remember, however you feel, you will not be the only one feeling it. Go into 2021 knowing that you are not alone, and you have got this, even when things are a little bit cloudy, you've got this.'