Spotlight on fashion: Getting shirty helps get the message across

A streetwear brand promoting self-belief and positivity has raised about £5,000 for a mental health services organisation for black people.

Young Goat was launched in September 2020 by six friends who met playing football at university – five of whom were from South London.

During Black History Month in October, the brand created a special T-shirt to raise money for Black Minds Matter.

Co-founder Arthur Leventhorpe, from Battersea, said: “Black mental health has been brought into sharp focus this year leading to more conversations around the topic.

“As well as factors that affect everyone’s mental health, black people have to contend with racism, inequality, and mental health stigma.

“The pandemic especially has been extremely tough for a lot of people mentally and financially so we love the fact that

Black Minds Matter are offering free mental health services at a time when so many need it but might not be able to afford it.”

The campaign was personal for the Young Goat team, as their colleague and friend Olisa Odukwe, known as Oli, took his own life in May this year, aged 20.

Mr Leventhorpe said: “He was just a really good guy and anyone who met him would attest to that. He was kind, brave, and loyal.

Posed by model

“We spoke to him every day and none of us knew what he was really dealing with.

It just goes to show that you can never really be sure how others are feeling. It shocked us all a lot and it just really invigorated our desire to make it a success.”

As well as the Black Minds Matter logo, the T-shirt also had a small purple heart sewn onto the sleeve in memory of Oli, who loved UK rapper Dave’s song Purple Heart.

As well as raising money, Young Goat is also hoping that the shirt will spark conversations.

Mr Leventhorpe said: “If you’re sat around at the pub with your mates and they ask you about it, you can get talking which is always going to be helpful.”

The message of positivity is central to the brand.

Mr Leventhorpe said: “It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how it started but as a group we just began to regularly use the acronym G.O.A.T. – which means greatest of all time – as a compliment to recognise each other’s achievements.

“It could have been for anything. If someone played well in a game, did well in an essay, even cooked something nice we’d be like ‘oh mate you’re the goat’.

“It started off as a bit jokey, but we became able to see first-hand the positive effect it was having on people.

“It just fostered this environment of collective positivity. It was really great to be a part of.”

From there they decided to spread the positive message outside of the football club and started selling minimalist clothing with the Young Goat logo.

Mr Leventhorpe said: “We felt we didn’t need to be too extravagant or flashy.

“We already had a brand in our minds because of the camaraderie we had and our friendship.

“We felt like the brand could do the talking, so just a simple logo was all that was needed.”

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