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World of international fashion to raise awareness of Inverness mental health charity championed by Hollywood actress Karen Gillan

By Val Sweeney

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Inverness-born actress Karen Gillan.
Inverness-born actress Karen Gillan.

The search is on for a winning fashion designer in a competition to raise funds and awareness for Inverness suicide prevention charity, Mikeysline.

It follows a visit to the charity's Hive drop-in centre in Academy Street by Pablo Lopez, the owner of the website Fashion Week Online (FWO), who watched the film, The Party’s Just Beginning, made by Inverness-born Hollywood actress Karen Gillan

Miss Gillan, who is a supporter of Mikeysline and has raised its profile on several occasions among a global audience, looks at the issue of suicide in the film.

FWO has now teamed up with Flying Solo, a collective of designers based in New York, and Mikeysline to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10

They have launched a competition to find two top non-professional designers – including one from Scotland – whose winning looks will make it to the catwalk of Flying Solo's show due to take place during New York Fashion Week about the same time.

Although it is a worldwide competition, the focus is on the Scottish Highlands and entries should reflect the theme of suicide prevention, mood, happiness, depression, or hope.

There is also a link to a JustGiving page for people to give online donations to Mikeysline.

"Suicide prevention, and the issue of chronic loneliness, has been an important topic to me for a long time," Mr Lopez said.

"I wanted to create an awareness campaign for World Suicide Prevention Day which falls close to the biggest fashion week of the year in September.

"When I learned about Mikeysline in Inverness after watching The Party’s Just Beginning and researching the problem that exists in the Scottish Highlands, I decided it would be great to combine a competition to benefit designers internationally, and Scotland in particular.

"I would like to thank Mikeysline for the work they do. We’re very excited to work with them to make this a reality."

A spokeswoman for Mikeysline said Mr Lopez visited the Hive earlier this year and later reached out to Mikeysline to see about working together on an awareness campaign for World Suicide Prevention Day while generating funds at the same time.

"The concept was to create a free-to-enter fashion design competition in association with Flying Solo in New York where non-professional fashion designers could see their collection on the runway in New York on September 13," she said.

"There will be two grand prizes – one of which is for the winning Scottish designer.

"Fashion Week Online is reaching out to Scottish non-professional and/or student fashion designers to encourage them to get in touch with them for details of this competition and interested parties should email designers@fashionweekonline.com.

"Mikeysline is delighted to be working with Pablo and his team in raising awareness of suicide prevention."

The prize also includes front-row tickets for the show, backstage interviews with designers and photographs and videos of the show and backstage.

If the show is cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the prizes will be transferred to the February 2021 show.

Details about the competition can be found at fashionweekonline.com/fwo-x-mikeysline-fashion-design-competition while FWO is also encouraging people to give online donations to Mikeysline via a link at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fashionweekonline.

Mikeysline was established in 2015 following the suicides of two close friends Mikey Williamson and Martin Shaw, both aged 23,

It provides a textline service on 07779 303 303 for those experiencing thoughts of depression, anxiety, worry or stress.

Related story: Surge in number of people seeking help from mental health charity as lockdown is extended

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