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The Onwards Club

Voices of Hope telephone interview with Taylor Drake

We connected with Taylor Drake initially in regards to his independent initiative in creating fashion in which the proceeds from his clothing line ‘The Onwards Club’ would be donated to Mental Health based initiatives in the community.

We asked Taylor to share with us a bit about himself…

I was born and raised in Moose Jaw, SK. I grew up passionate about art and always drew to keep my mind busy. I learned I liked to express myself through art and continued utilizing it as an outlet throughout my life. Recently, I hit 30 in May and looked back on my life. I have a family with my partner and my son and another little one on the way. I realized I never took the time to try things for myself and take a chance on my passions. I want my children to grow up and see that their father wasn’t afraid to follow his dreams and be brave enough to try. I want them to know to try for themselves regardless of the outcome.

We then asked brought about his interest in fashion…

My interest in fashion came in around the same time I started growing my focus in art and different forms of expression. The more I was around people, the more I noticed that people talk with what they’re wearing. This can include movements, politics and belief systems, moods, etc. I have always cared for fashion and the way clothing can express people’s perspectives. I also liked the idea of being able to be a part of a good cause and to be able to help people. Clothing also has a way of being able to tell a story and I am hoping my clothing can continue an open and positive dialogue with others and to be able to hear and connect to others personal journeys with mental health.

When it comes to a personal connection to fashion I am most influenced by how clothing can be an expression of personality… where you belong. A lot of what you choose to wear is depending on your mood and how you’re feeling that day. And for me personally, I have noticed that my mood has entirely changed in starting this project and opening up about my personal experiences with mental health… I have definitely began to wear more colour whereas before I was wearing darker shades in my clothing.

We asked Taylor where the idea came from to create The Onwards Club…

With my passion behind clothing and expressing art through this project, I am also expressing myself – my own experience with mental health and connecting with others. The name is for the purpose of going forward or continuing forward – then Onwards came up. Not a lot of companies do this, but I always liked that every time I purchased clothing that the company gives back to a good cause – if you can give back as a company, it means even more to me.

The questions about my clothing that I get all the time is how does the logo represent what I am trying to get across when there’s nothing to do with the graphic of the logo – the point is that the expression of logo’s don’t always come with a clear picture and that it’s more so what is behind the logo. The logo holds its own purpose of people speaking out and reaching out – a simple logo can send and connect to a thousand listeners if someone were to simply ask what does the logo refer to – getting that conversation going – but this logo you can wear it under any mood. I did not want to dictate when and how a person would wear this line of clothing…because I want the conversation around mental health to continue, however I also want this clothing to be personal to every person that purchases an article of clothing. Knowing that the proceeds are entirely going to a well needed cause: Mental health initiatives in the community. The saying of “…You can’t judge a book by its cover…” is so true in that there are many faces and expressions in mental health. My logo may not outright say or express The Onwards Club as a mental health reference, but it does provide an avenue of others reaching out and getting curious enough to ask and converse about the brand.

We asked Taylor what is the purpose or Hope that this initiative will provide for people in the community…

I am hopeful that people, especially younger generations, to not be afraid of who you are and simply try. When I was younger I would skateboard down to a local clothing/sport shop with my dad and we would go there and look at the clothing. Art, expression mean a lot to me – I noticed some of these clothing stores/companies make a killing, but don’t always give back to their communities. This is something that helps me stand out. The purpose is to get in touch with others who have gone through a loss of a loved one or just a personal journey with mental health – that is everything.

We asked Taylor if he could leave a message of Hope for others to hear what would that be…

You’re never alone. With my own journey and in reaching out to people and opening up about my personal journey with mental health was probably the only way I was going to realize that others are going through similar experiences. To know that I was not alone in my experiences and that I never will be alone. It just takes one conversation, one minute with someone, to leave a positive impact and change of thought.

Stay tuned for more interviews in the Voices of Hope Series…

Join the Journey of Hope…

If you are someone or know of someone that might be interested in being a part of the Voices of Hope Series connect with us through our email:

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