Anxious young man who couldn't leave bedroom launches clothing brand
PUBLISHED: 13:38 07 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:30 07 October 2018
At the age of 19, Charlie Yapp was clinically depressed and unable to leave his house without major anxiety attacks, but now he has launched a clothing brand.
At the age of 19, Charlie Yapp was clinically depressed and unable to leave his house without experiencing major anxiety attacks. Now, after battling his demons and winning, the 24 year-old is determined to counter the ‘quest for perfection’ on social media through his new clothing brand.
The first signs that something was wrong for Charlie were when, at the age of 18, he started to suffer anxiety attacks on the checkouts where he was first working, followed by episodes of passing out. “Overworking, not paying attention to my body, trying to do too much too quickly, were all adding to my poor state of mind which I didn’t even register at the time,” explained Charlie, who is a former Framlingham College student.
“I was a young man who had no understanding of what was happening to me and it soon spiralled out of control, to a point where it felt like I had stage fright 24/7.”
Charlie claims that his employers were not supportive, and that this was due to a lack of understanding about mental health at the time.
After depressive episodes led to him struggling to maintain any type of normality, Charlie left his job and was engulfed by a wave of anxiety that left him unable to leave the house without experiencing major anxiety attacks. It wasn’t long before this turned into clinical depression and at the age of 19, Charlie was unable to leave his bedroom at all for 9 months.
He sought help and support from family and friends and a number of therapists searching for an answer. “I was never suicidal, but I was unable to function properly at all,” he explained. “It was at this point a year after things started to go wrong that I finally went to my local GP, who set up a treatment plan.
“After two different medications and six weeks of side effects, it took only nine weeks for me to gain control of my life again.”
Following recovery, Charlie went to university, only to leave two years into his course in search of a life and career with more meaning.
Charlie and his older brother George Yapp, who had been instrumental in his recovery, decided that together, they wanted to create a business that would give them a platform to help promote and support those suffering with mental health issues.
“Developing our clothing brand Matter gives us a strong platform to talk about Mental health,” explained Charlie. “We thought it would be tough, but worth taking a risk to try and achieve. We also love the creative outlet that it gives us, especially when these are influenced by current fashion trends, sports and the seasonal changes.”
The brothers launched Matter Clothing last year from their base in Framlingham, with a line of men’s t shirts and hoodies designed by George and made using ethical materials and production methods.
George, who is 26, explained: “We wanted to create a brand that was for the bold, adventurous and free spirited, much like us – we don’t want to conform. Society paints a picture that men and women have to be perfect all the time. We strive to do well at everything we do, even when life can be really tough.
“This strive for perfection, which is only further encouraged through the use of social media, exposes us to a torrent of abuse and pressure that just isn’t sustainable. It affects everyone emotionally.
“We use our Matter Clothing social media to promote health and wellbeing – the good and fun stuff – things that will make you feel better.”
Although traditionally, men in England tended to take the stiff upper lip approach to dealing with their angst, an increasing number of high profile male celebrities are now speaking up about their past mental health issues. They include Prince Harry, footballer Danny Rose and the rapper Stormzy. Charlie claims that he always felt empowered to speak about his mental health problems in and out of the work place, but was never able to find the correct platform to do it. “Seeing more influential people speaking out is amazing, and my goal is to help people and try and give them a platform to speak about their problems in confidence. I want to show other corporations that better things can come from working and helping staff and families with mental health issues, and raise money for charities big or small.”
The brothers’ brand is now trademarked in the UK, and their customer base is growing as they develop their social media presence. Their website is now attracting 2,000 hits a month, and the pair have plans in the new year for additional product lines and a women’s/unisex range of clothing.
From this month, Matter Clothing is donating £1 from every sale to a mental health charity.
In time, the brothers hope to establish their own Matter Clothing fund which will support mental health issues on a local and national scale.