Art To Wear: Wearing Out The Mental Health Stigma
My name is Lindsay Ogus, I am a Toronto-born 27 year-old painter, and up-and-coming female business owner in the art/fashion space. Last year I started up artbyogus.com to introduce festival goers, yoga practitioners and art lovers alike to an original line of Art To Wear textiles (leggings, shoes, socks, tees) emblazoned with my hand-painted designs.
Having dealt with mental health challenges myself, I wanted to create a line of visuals that spoke to people on a deeper level. From day one, I set about harnessing the difficulty I experienced in my own to create work that would uplift people. Colour and vibrancy are the tools I use to transform darkness into light. When people wear my clothing, it represents a choice to feel strong and empowered regardless of what is going on in their life.
I started painting and drawing when I was a young kid almost out of necessity. I was an obese child, my parents were divorced leaving my sister and I in the middle of a brutal battle. For most of my young life, the three of us lived cooped up in a tiny apartment trying to make it work. My grandparents were adamant that I went to a good school where I could meet other “Jews like myself”, and in grade 3 I was plunged into the world of Forest Hill (Drake’s infamous stomping ground—fun fact!). There I was amongst rich, well-bred nuclear families where the UGG and Juicy Couture-clad kids and I just knew that I couldn’t compete. Inevitably, the bullying ensured and didn’t end until the day I graduated high school from Forest Hill Collegiate. Throughout that entire time, my art was one of the few things that kept me afloat in times of deep loneliness. Art functioned as a protective bubble that allowed me to imagine and manifest new, magical worlds that I felt I belonged to— abstract and colourful worlds that spoke to my soul.
It is my mission to reach people who have felt similarly and are searching for solidarity and acceptance. My brand is about celebrating the bright side of mental illness and eradicating the stigma by reclaiming and owning the beauty that can come from darkness.
I encourage anyone who resonates with my story to take a look through my work. If it speaks to you, there are a variety of funky, colour-infused pieces to add some light and positivity to your wardrobe.