Inverness fashion student aims to raise awareness of mental health through final year collection

An Inverness fashion and textiles student has explored the issue of mental health through his final year collection, after being inspired by two generations of his family who have worked in the sector.

Dennis Neville Degree Show 2016Dennis Neville (22), who is studying at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, will see his work go on display at the annual Degree Show later this month, which runs from June 18 to 25.

His grandparents, two uncles and his mother have all worked in mental health nursing and growing up Dennis was told stories of the patients they worked with and their illnesses.

The former Charleston Academy pupil said: “Each story explains a life and the way someone interacted with another and how their illness was displayed. Mental illness was something which was explained and welcomed in my household. I never found fear in interacting with patients as the misconceptions of mental illness were explained to me.

“Compassion and acceptance has been instilled into my character, to accept people for who they are, and understand that mental illness has no home in gender. Embracing the difference found within each person allows me to learn and understand the world.”

Dennis added: “This inspired me to express my passion and knowledge. My collection is unisex, as of way to reflect metal illness as no gender. Each garment is made with pulls and ties and to show how mental illness restricts, while clips on the garments mean they can attach to one another. This allows the suggestion that we are all 'attached' to mental illness, personally or through another.”

Dennis says that it is the thought of putting his work on public display which has motivated him the most throughout his final year.

“That has been my main drive,” he said. “I can't believe it is my final year and it is all about to climax. The excitement is overwhelming.

“I feel this collection is my child and I am taking it to school of the first time, nervous for it to leave but excited for the adventures it will take!”

Dennis also hopes that his collection can help to raise awareness around mental illness.

“Metal health is something which cannot always be seen, however through the expression of clothing we can try and translate awareness,” he said. “I wanted to create a collection which linked together, literally. My garment clip to each other as to display that we are all connected and should consider another's mental state without judgement.”

The Gray’s School of Art Degree Show, which is sponsored by BP for the thirteenth year, runs from June 18 to 25 and will showcase work by students of all disciplines.

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology