Sarah Hollebon, fashion designer and mental health activist, and Farah Hina, PhD Psychiatry student at University of Cambridge were invited to lead on an exciting project called ‘Collaborative Challenge’ with London College of Fashion Master’s students. Together Sarah and Farah worked on the brief. They decided it would be to raise awareness of Postpartum Depression in Pakistani women, in the form of a campaign, garment, or film.
So, why did Sarah and Farah choose this specific condition while there are several other mental health areas in Pakistan (& across the world) that need a lot of work? Farah, being originally from Pakistan says “Initially, it was hard to choose one. Yet it did not take much for me to propose addressing PPD to the rest of the team because I've lost count of women I encountered who went/are going through this with barely any support or even awareness of what is happening to them. Their helplessness, baggage and guilt they carry cannot be put into words. The next shocking things I am very used to hearing are the pressure of getting back into the relationship without allowing enough time for a woman to heal and having more children while they haven’t recovered from the ongoing symptoms/experiences.”
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of depression that many mothers experience post-birth. It is highly prevalent and can affect fathers too. In terms of estimates in Pakistan, maternal health is a very neglected area. However, it is difficult to determine the accurate estimates due to under-reporting by women (various reasons); underdiagnosis due to lack of reliable screening tools; and low awareness/knowledge of the condition.
There were 2 groups of students studying on a variety of courses such as Photography, Womenswear, and Applied Psychology in Fashion. Both groups only had 8 weeks from choosing the project to creating the end product. Both groups decided to create a fashion campaign and would use Sarah Hollebon’s existing work on interviewing people with mental health conditions and creating a garment that would represent/showcase those experiences.
Sarah and Farah worked closely with both groups throughout the project development, advising and supporting the students to make a campaign that was sensitive and an accurate representation of this important topic. Sarah and Farah also conducted interviews with Pakistani women who have first hand experience of Postpartum Depression to gain a deeper understanding into their experiences. They then shared these interviews anonymously to the students to help with their research and development for their campaigns.
“It was a great experience working on the campaigns with the Masters students. Both teams worked to the brief well and you could tell by their final outcomes they had done extensive research and planning of the subject prior. Final outcomes from both teams were powerful, sensitive, and highly creative. It was a pleasure working closely with both teams to raise awareness of such an important topic in an engaging and emotive way.” Sarah Hollebon
Farah and Sarah wish to thank wholeheartedly all the super brave and inspiring interviewees sharing their journey with us. They also greatly appreciate all the supervisors: Colette Meacher, Nabil El-Nayal & Sarah-Ann Smith and students involved from LCF: Ziyi Wang, Alisha Roe-Lamb, Sidhant Sudhan, Reesha D’mello, Lisa Ndlovu, Antonia Newman, Scarlett Anderson, Alisha Roe-Lamb, and Abhinav Bhandari. Here are both groups final campaign photoshoots with quotes from the interviews of people who have lived experience of Postpartum Depression.
Group 1 Final Campaign By Reesha D’mello, Lisa Ndlovu, Scarlett Anderson, and Abhinav Bhandari
Group 2 Final Campaign
By Alisha Roe Lamb, Sidhant Sudhan, Ziyi Wang, and Antonia Newman