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size? #AskTheQuestion: an interview with Sophie Clayton

World Mental Health Day is coming up and it remains as important as ever to check in with friends and family. While we may be out of lockdowns for the foreseeable, the past year and a half has had unprecedented effects on people’s mental health. At size?, we are always trying to find ways to promote mental health awareness and our size? syllabus campaign allows us to connect with young minds to expand this.

“A mood board that ties together all the touchpoints of my campaign; raw grassroots creativity, customisation, openness surrounding mental health and the importance of a simple text or a question. I used mood boards like this when I was starting off my campaign as I knew what elements I wanted to include but the challenge was tying them together and crafting a narrative around it.”

For World Mental Health Day, we had a submission from one of our size? syllabus students – Sophie Clayton from Northumbria University. Her #AskTheQuestion campaign will share the stories of creators and how their art benefits their mental health in short films posted on TikTok and Instagram. To gain an insight into this incredible campaign, we caught up with Sophie for a chat. We spoke about her inspiration, how Sophie maintained positive mental health in lockdown, the importance of supporting young creatives and more – have a read…

Hey Sophie – can you give us an insight into your inspiration for the campaign?

“A time to change campaign (@timetochange) that I saw back in 2017 was the main inspiration for my campaign. It was an Instagram video post that showed a simple text conversation between mates which highlighted the importance of checking in on your friends and not asking once, but twice if your friend is acting differently. It went viral and a huge proportion of my friends shared it which really opened up the conversation around mental health. The campaign really resonated with me – and all these years on – I haven’t forgotten about it. I thought it would be a great basis for a brand campaign, and I’d love to see a brand backing this movement.”

How important is it for brands to support mental health and wellbeing in the present day?

“Consumers these days buy way more than just a product, so forming brand values that resonate with consumers is essential. It’s becoming increasingly important that brands back their communities mental well-being. I did a lot of research into trends that place customer wellbeing, and mental health as a priority when consumers are looking for a brand. As mental health is more widely considered as just as important as physical health, brands looking after mental well-being is a trend that’s here to stay.”

Why is size? the right brand for your campaign?

“A lot of the size? customer base is young. Most young people will experience a mental health issue of some sort during their youth so it’s important that they are talking about mental health and size? can help by fuelling this conversation.”

“I also really like the idea of ‘walking in someone else’s shoes’ when trying to understand mental health, so I thought it would be cool to use a trainer brand. My campaign sits really well with a street style, urban aesthetic too, so style-wise, size? is on point.”

The past year has been tough for many of us – how have you looked after your mental health?

“It was super important to stay close with my friends and family over this time, and the pandemic has opened my eyes to new, increasingly digital ways of doing this. I make sure I check in on my friends, even if it’s just a quick text.”

“Being creative has been a massive thing for me over lockdown. In lockdown number three, I did a photography publication all about the Northern coastline. Exploring Tynemouth to Bridlington and taking some snaps along the way kept me busy when nothing was open and gave me something positive to focus on.”

The tag #AskTheQuestion promotes openness with mental health – how important is opening up with others and checking in with friends?

“A text checking in on your friends could literally be lifesaving. A simple question could be the step that someone needs to get help. It’s important for brands to fuel conversations like this because mental health can’t be taboo anymore.”

How do you feel about this amazing campaign becoming a reality?

“From the start of my planning, the campaign just seemed to make sense, and be super appropriate for the brand, so I’m so excited that size? could share my vision. If the campaign makes waves anything even slightly similar to the 2017 time to change campaign, I will be so proud. I really hope it can help at least one person and fuel this important conversation.”

Your idea came through Northumbria University being a partner of size? Syllabus – which is all about offering student creatives a platform within the industry – how did you feel when it came to your university?

“When size? came to Northumbria, I was so keen to start working with them. It was really exciting to do work for a brand that I would actually buy from. As a size? customer myself, I saw loads of opportunities and knew how I’d like to be spoken to as a customer. I know all my friends in the lower years will enjoy getting stuck into the size? briefs just like I did.”

What is the importance of supporting young creatives right now?

“It’s so important for a large brand to back young, grassroots creators. In a country where the government are cutting budgets for creative pursuits, it’s super important that the brands they buy from are backing them.”

Keep checking our blog and socials for more World Mental Health Day content! If you are a University who would like more information on size? Syllabus and how size? can work with your creative department to give platforms to young creatives who want to get their message across, please email syllabus@size.co.uk.

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