5 WAYS TO HELP A FRIEND WITH ANXIETY

1.       The fear is real- I remember when I was at High School listening to girls complaining of social Anxiety.  I didn’t understand it, and thought ‘Life can be tough, we all just have to get on with it’. But anxiety is more than butterflies in the stomach or feeling uncomfortable.  It is an overwhelming feeling of dread, for unexplainable reasons.  Just be supportive; don’t push, they will find ways to cope in time.  Some days it’s easy to push the boundaries of the comfort zone; some days it’s not.

2.       It often happens to over-achievers- Journalist Georgie Dent writes about her battle with overcoming anxiety in her book Breaking Badly.  She was a young woman with incredible grades, aspirations, and the world at her feet; however she could not celebrate any of her achievements.  There was always someone better, someone smarter, and someone ‘really making a go of it’. Her inability to be forgiving to herself, drove her inability to give herself a break.  The constant circuits of her brain, meant no time for downtime in her thought processes; and eventually fatigue set in. Maybe your friend needs some downtime, time to turn off from their brain. Find tasks that can refocus thoughts.  Like going for a run, while having great physical benefits; it can pull your thoughts from the menacing, to focus on the physical task at hand.

3.       It’s not a sign of weakness- Style icon Caroline de Maigret was recently quoted in Irish Tatler talking about her burnout at 33. She said “It was a result of too much work, coupled with the fact that I think I hadn’t fixed a lot of issues and I was living my life without asking myself too many questions. Eventually those questions came back without asking permission.” She later states that her days started with anxiety attacks. I like Caroline’s idea that she was living her life without asking questions.  I look to the other accounts and I recognise that they are not women whom underachieve.  So often anxiety is related to frailty and weakness; and this I think is an out-dated belief.  In all cases they were so busy in our lives, trying to achieve but never taking a breath to celebrate; to an end where we didn’t stop to register internal metrics. So reassure your friend that while they might be feeling vulnerable right now, they will regain their strength.

4.       It is a sign of letting your thoughts run wild, unchecked-  Stephanie Preissner (Sunday Independent Life Magazine) described the onset of panic attack.  She recognised that her thought processes tend to “Go to worst case scenario”. Georgie Dent, similarly unpacks thought processes from her childhood, where her thoughts would irrationally skip to epic worry proportions at the slightest suggestion. Sufferers on anxiety, often have these ‘thought journeys’ that left unbridled, gallop full-speed into the abyss. These thoughts have to be broken down, treated more realistically and reframed.  It can be a challenging process to engage meta-thinking and really analyse thought processes.  You can help a friend with talking, sorting through issues, establishing that the world isn’t ending and choosing to react more positively.

5.       There are ways to cope- Dr Caroline Leaf (leading meta-physicist) tells us that stress is a good, motivating factor; when responded to in a positive, proactive way.  It is when the stress gets to epic proportions, through erratic thought processes, that it becomes mentally and physically unhealthy. So to avoid the negative thought processes, Dr Leaf says we must be aware of our thoughts; capture them.  Break down what they mean.  What’s the likelihood of this fear coming to pass? And then reframe them to be more positive. It is consciously looking for the ‘silver lining’; realising that even if things don’t go your way, it’s not the end of the world.  This process of changing thought processes does not happen overnight, particularly if they’re well-entrenched; but with perseverance it can happen. Our brains are remarkably malleable! So, while your friend might be going through a tough patch, reassure them, it can get better.  And be the sounding board to help them extricate their thoughts, and come to agreement that positive action can come from a difficult situation.

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January 29, 2021 — Roisin Padayachee

5 WAYS TO HELP IRISH RETAIL DURING A LEVEL 5 LOCKDOWN

I read a post last week by Instagram profile @ChampionGreen

“If each of us spent an extra €20 a week in small businesses over the next 3 months it would boost our economy by €875 million” (Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director)

When our economy thrives, we all thrive.  This means local jobs, national economic security and investment in local facilities. Now I know during a global pandemic €20 extra euros can be hard to find on a weekly basis; especially for workers who are relying on the PUP payment.  But I would suggest you do not need to find an additional €20, just consider redistributing €20 from a multinational site, to a local site.

Especially coming into Christmas were most of the retail spending is done. Consider attributing your spend to local business’. Even though many retail workers are not able to work at the minute; if they are going to have jobs once the pandemic is over, we need to keep local business’ in business.

5 practical ways you can help-

  1. Gift vouchers-

Give the gift of choice! If you have a trusted favourite, Irish retailer (or hospitality establishment) buy a gift card to support their business.  Even consider asking business that had to shut with level 5 restrictions, and do not have the capacity to work online yet. They may look forward to the prospect of business post-lockdown.

2. Irish Business Directories-

Recently I came across 2 Irish business directories to assist you in finding local shops or services. Many of the listings even had links to the business’ website to save you having to find them yourself.  They were incredibly easy to use and a great starting point for online shopping.  They are: https://lovegreen.ie/ and https://croiaireland.com/ (which may not be fully live yet, but do sign up to their Social Media and newsletter).

3. Look for website credentials-

Another post by @Championgreen shared that “70% of online sales in Ireland are spent abroad”.  That is a HUGE percentage! Companies based abroad do not pay taxes in Ireland, so the money leaves this country and is of no further benefit to our economy.  So how do you tell if the site is Irish? Using a .ie URL is not a guarantee.  Many global companies buy URLs in many different countries to appear local and safe.  You might have to do some digging… Consider- Where is their head office? Where are they shipping from? A simple google search might answer this one.

4. Follow local Instagram accounts-

Many local businesses couldn’t adapt an online e-commerce website fast enough for the pandemic, and have been left without income during the level 5 lockdown.  Most however are advertising their wares on Social Media; offering a very personalised service to facilitate the sale.  Often opening especially for customers, offering home deliveries; going above and beyond for their customers. It is the Irish hospitality that Ireland is famous for, more than a multinational corporation could ever do for you.

5. Share this post with a friend, so they can do the same!

Building awareness about the impact of our consumerists habits is really important to see systemic change.  I wholeheartedly believe in the power of the individual.  It can seem sometimes like our actions are not impactful; however, you are one piece in a big jigsaw, and it’s only with all the pieces that we can see the final lovely picture.

 

So vote with your wallet! If Ireland is important to you, please spend accordingly this festive season. I will be!

January 29, 2021 — Roisin Padayachee

MAKING FACE MASKS

I’ve been so grateful to feel a little useful during the pandemic; by being able to make face masks for people in need. Here is a printable pdf of the template that I used. (It's rough as I didn’t have time to trace it in illustrator). Just email me if there’s any confusion around the instructions. M x

When you print this, please make sure it is full size and it should fit to an A4 page. If it’s not fitting to an A4, the template/ pattern size would be different to the one I use.

When you print this, please make sure it is full size and it should fit to an A4 page. If it’s not fitting to an A4, the template/ pattern size would be different to the one I use.

January 29, 2021 — Roisin Padayachee

JUST ANOTHER FRANTIC FRIDAY!

Black Friday is undoubtedly the shopper’s event of the season.  Previous years have seen huge sale events, and much of the Christmas shopping completed on this one day- which was officially the 27th of November.  Some retailers claim it is their single biggest day of sales in the year! 

There has been nothing normal about 2020, and so it is no surprise that I lot of the Christmas retailing has already started. Given that we will be under lock down still, when Black Friday comes the usual in-store rush will not exist.  For many shoppers this will see a dramatic change in their habits- forgoing huge cues instore, for arguably more comfort, browsing online from their homes.  

WE’VE COMPILED SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR ONLINE SHOPPING THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON:

  1. Keep a List and stick to it-

                I can be easy when you do not physically have the items in front of you in a trolley, to overspend.  I do some brainstorming ahead of even looking at the shops.  Making a list of people to buy for, amount to spend and items that you would like to buy.  This can help establish a budget for the season (which I know can easily spiral out of control)!

2. Do your research-

                This does not have to be onerous or all at once. Once you have an idea for a gift for someone, compare the retailers offers and details to make the most informed decision. Without walking between many shops and comparing similar items, this can be done a lot more easily from home, with a few tabs open for different retailers on the computer. And where at all possible, please shop from Irish companies.

3. Check online security-

                I honestly was nearly caught last year! I was looking at a popular boot brand for months, which I adored.  On facebook an advertisement came up, advertising a ridiculously good sale on this brand! About 80% off! I followed the link to the site and it looked very realistic.  Professional product photos, well laid out, even went so far as to have very thorough terms of sale and return conditions; but the URL looked a little ‘off’. So before putting in my card number I thought I’d call the Irish brands head office, to check the sale was legit. It wasn’t… The representative said that someone had set up a site, stealing their pics and taking orders for stock that did not exist.  It was an offshore site and they were working on trying to get it shut down.  But in the interim of the few days it was live, many people had been caught.  So if it looks too good, it probably is.  I always like to check the location of the head office, read the section ‘about’ of the website, look where items are shipping from, check google reviews and possibly their social media to ensure it is a legitimate store. You are much safer shopping with business’ that are based in Ireland, for your own civil rights.  It is very hard to dispute problems with overseas business’ if they’re not intending to do the right thing by you.

4. Shipping-

                Even though the site might have .ie, it does not mean the item is based in Ireland or shipping from Ireland.  Shipping can increase your sale amount, so it is best to check shipping terms and prices ahead of spending ages shopping a site; only to see that the shipping cost would not warrant the purchase.  Many sites offer flat-rate shipping- so the same price for shipping no matter how many items are shipped.  Or free shipping over a certain amount spent.  It’s best to be organized and make the most of those shipping rates, by completely one sale with the company.  Having a list of your intended purchases can help with this.

5. Return dates-

                Given the extended period of the Christmas retail season and to avoid crowds, many retailers are extending their return windows.  This way you can shop confidently now, knowing that if the size of style needs changing, it can be done after Christmas. You may like to check this if you are starting your purchases already.

In line with my last blog I encourage you to please shop Irish Brands, shops, and companies this Christmas.  On average many retailers experience 30% of their years’ worth of sales in November and December. If we can keep the Christmas spend within Ireland, we will go a long way to ensuring a stable economy and jobs post-covid. Let’s make it a GREEN FRIDAY, this black Friday.

January 29, 2021 — Roisin Padayachee

ART IMITATING LIFE? FINDING LOGO INSPIRATION

I’ve used this phrase before... More as a cultured conversation addition, but without too much real thought. In preparing for this article I had to review its meaning.  I knew my topic was relation to this phrase; but exactly how? 

So according to (hopefully credible) internet sources, it’s the process of observing how art has sprung from true-events (ie. life).  Makes sense right? A phrase made popular by Oscar Wilde.

I think this phrase particularly comes into relevance when discussing Glyphs use in pop-culture. Up until a few weeks ago I was alerted to the connection between the Meld logo and glyphs.  I myself had witnessed the rise of popularity of arrows in tattoo art.  I sought to harness meaning through this art form to articulate, what ‘Meld’ meant to clothing.  The philosophy of creating hybrid, ultra wearable clothes, where neither comfort, nor style are compromised- clothes for any time or place.  This manifested in the two arrows in Meld’s logo; representing time (the clock hand on top), and place (the compass hand below).

There was no more thought given to it than that… Then my friend asked “How did you decide to connect glyphs to your logo?”

“Glyphs? You mean the ancient Egyptian wall art?”

After some further investigation, I now understand that glyphs are a pictorial/symbolic representation of an understanding. Glyphs transcended far beyond the ancient world, and still help to shape meaning in the modern world.  As subliminal messages, shapes convey meaning to influence thought processes. Definitely a great example of life imitating art!

Exploring the use of glyphs in the modern tattoo art, the general idea is that the arrows often stand for adventure, or a journey; a direction of travel.  Looking upon the symbol reminds the wearer, that they aren’t ‘there’ yet. There is more to be seen, done, explored.  Within the space of everyday life, it can be a symbol of hope, for life to come. There are more specified meanings depending on the composition, but that’s that general idea; as I found it.

Specifically then looking at the two arrow images on the Meld logo I was presently surprised to see that the arrow pointing up- means “new life”! This so adequately captures the meaning of Meld, helping inspire and empower women; through fashion to the life of their dreams. The bottom “V” is a feminine symbol, symbolising a valley or the earth.  I am blown away by this symbols connection to femininity; something Meld seeks to promote within designs.  These clothes are meant to inspire women to get active in nature; and we have an evolving eco-range in the works!

I find these connections- incredible! In every sense of the word! But then, perhaps the ideation of the logo, was simply an external expression of living? Perhaps the subliminal messages are already so ingrained within? Did I already understand the connection to the symbols, before I gained concrete evidence?  A curious thought.

January 29, 2021 — Roisin Padayachee

WHO OR WHAT IS MELD?

By dictionary definition, ‘Meld’ is the process of blending.  Bringing together more than one, to create something new. A process of change. Melding or developing to create something even more desirable than each part on their own.  Think about how much your favourite coffee is improved with a syrup (obviously based on taste criteria, as opposed to calories)! Or being served a dessert without cream or custard?! (Apologies for all the food analogies...)

Meld Apparel started with this idea- how to blend your fav comfy sports apparel, with a more fashion look. The best of both worlds! Comfort, engineering, no belts, and something you can bend in without feeling restricted. Something you can feel styled in at the shops, and equally comfortable in while exercising in the park.  The ultimate wardrobe for a busy women! That’s our design mandate, our driving force.

But can the perfect athleisure garment, really be perfect if it is contributing to a fashion system that does not value the environment or the people that work within it? So, we did some soul-searching and decided that we must play a larger role in the solution.

The fashion industry is number 2 polluter in the world, behind the oil and gas industry.  Fabrics can largely be classed into 2 categories natural or synthetic (though it’s possible to blend the 2 for a hybrid fibre). Natural fibres are from natural sources such as, cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, silk etc. Synthetic are made fibres, like polyester, nylon, rayon, spandex, acrylic etc.  Basically, synthetic fibres are made through chemical processes.  They are are derived from petroleum and other natural resources and then extruded to create a fibre, that is woven or knitted into cloth. Natural textiles biodegrade naturally in a short period of time- like a planet that returns to the earth.  Synthetic textiles take between 20 and 200 years to naturally biodegrade!  This is because they are essentially plastics and so compound the current plastic problem.

So what can we do? Well our next collection will only use recycled, natural and organic fibres to minimise our impact.  Current technology can take existing plastics and make them into new polyester fibres, as opposed to depleting natural resources and providing a use for discarded plastic materials.  We can also make sure we are using natural fibres that will biodegrade and focusing on Organic options (which means they were grown without the use of terrible chemicals that devastate ecosystems as well as farmers). We can ensure our factories adhere to accreditations to ensure a suitable work environment for our makers, decent pay and set hours.

We can do this and we are, because this world needs a little more kindness. So we’re now ‘melding’ our unique styled active wear, with a planet friendly ethos. We hope you’ll agree its a step in the right direction!? Meld Apparel is making it easier for us to all be a part of the solution. I’m so looking forward to share our new line with you, estimated to arrive in February, for Spring Summer.

January 27, 2021 — Roisin Padayachee