By Melissa Sheil
AMOR clothing is set to host its debut runway show this Friday, a milestone for its 17-year-old founder Christian Vicencio who used fashion as an outlet for mental health struggles.
Amidst a self-confessed terrible year of messy breakups, finishing high school and a global pandemic, Vicencio admitted it was a low point in his mental state that triggered the start of his clothing brand.
“I’ve really struggled with mental health since I was young, but the start of this year was really a low point,” he said.
“I thought rather than sit around feeling sorry for myself, I’m going to turn this bad thing into something I can parade around with, that I can be proud of myself for.”
Vicencio advocates for using creativity as an alternative avenue of expression for personal and psychological anxieties.
“I hated seeing counsellors, I hated sitting down and speaking out loud to someone about my mental health,” he said.
“I use my work as a platform to speak for me because I feel my mind exceeds my vocabulary and I can express myself way better through something like this.”
To other young men who find themselves unable to deal with their mental health, Vicencio said a mantra of “no fear” is key and hopes he can be a good example of overcoming bad thoughts.
“Use your mind as a tool, as bad and as scary as it can be, just hold on and push through, because you can come out with something really good on the other side.”
Though Amor clothing’s motto “I hate you I love you” was born from the fallout of a toxic relationship, it came to reflect Vicencio’s feelings about the contrasts of mental health.
“I reflects how I felt about everything, my mental health was very up and down for a while, black and white, very contradictory,” he said.
“There are so many peaks and troughs when you are going through it, so you have to utilise the good days when you can.”
Vicencio emphasised the purpose of fashion as more than just pieces of clothing.
“Fashion is something where it’s not just one singular door to walk through, it means so much more than the actual t-shirt and shorts themselves,” he said.
“You can tell so much about a person by what they wear and what they create.”
The runway event at Burswood will include twelve models dressed in Amor clothing, with the venue, photographer, music and set all organised and paid for by Vicencio.
After navigating the hurdle of his first runway show, Vicencio intends to run similar events in partnership with groups like R U OK and Beyond Blue, donating his ticket profits in the name of mental health awareness.
Tickets are available here