Break Free NYFW is a runway show with a cause, leading the discussion on mental health and substance use disorders within the fashion industry. We have invited mental health and addiction rights activists to not only walk in this show as models but to be featured designers showcasing their collections for the New York elite to immerse themselves within their brands’ core mission of shining a light on this pressing issue.
Now more than ever, we need to continue this national discussion on a local level. In 2022, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) announced a 15% increase in drug overdose deaths, with that figure surpassing 108,000 deaths in May of this year. With more than 932,000 people who have died since 1999 from a drug overdose and the 19.86% (nearly 50 million) of Americans who suffer from a mental illness, this conversation needs to take the runway.
Leading up to Break Free NYFW, there will be a series of virtual panels for the designers and models to take part in discussing topics ranging from substance use disorders within the fashion industry to personal testimonials of each participant’s connection to the cause.
The Break Free NYFW Designer Showcase is being held on Saturday, September 10th, which is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day to raise awareness on suicidal behaviors and how to effectively prevent them. September is also National Recovery Month, a month to celebrate those who have sought recovery from a substance use disorder and to encourage others to seek ways to gain sobriety and live a sober lifestyle, as well as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
A portion of the proceeds from this show will go to the Break Free Foundation, which serves as the scholarship oversight committee whose purpose is to provide scholarships to assist those seeking treatment for a substance use disorder through attending a rehabilitation
Founded by Alexandra Nyman, the creative director of LadyCat and editor-in-chief of Soberocity, “Break Free NYFW is my plea to society to open up about their struggles with mental health and substance use disorders and to take it as seriously as they do physical health. If these past few years have taught us anything, it should be that our mental health needs to stop being pushed aside and ignored.”
For the upcoming Break Free show during NYFW, Nyman said, “we are thrilled to be able to officially announce the launch of our second showcase and will include the same level of diversity and inclusion as the first showcase.” Nyman wants to showcase real people wearing fabulous clothing, and she wants to bring awareness to real-life struggles. The dichotomy is eye-opening and exciting.
The Break Free NYFW Designer Showcase will also serve as an awareness campaign as attendees will listen to the participants discuss their experiences with mental health, substance use disorders, and the impact they have on the individuals who are living in recovery.