By Race Porter
Edited by Jenna Alaskar 

I have struggled with mental health for as long as I can remember, and like so many other people who deal with mental health issues, my first inclination has always been to hide it. I always figured no one cared, or even worse, people wouldn’t like me if they knew how much I struggled. But hiding these issues, only made it worse. So, after nearly 8 years of dealing with depression and battling my own thoughts, I decided once and for all, to address my issues. This was the beginning of HOMS. 

I always liked the phrase “wear your heart on your sleeve”. It is used to describe a person who is strong, and capable of expressing themselves no matter their surroundings. Someone who is comfortable, in every way, with the person they are. I always thought of myself as someone who represented this phrase, but the more I reflected on it, the more I realized I wasn’t very comfortable being my true self. I thought this might be the reason I had struggled for so many years to be happy, struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin. I floated along, going through the motions, until one day, I finally decided I was going to wear my heart on my sleeve. Literally. I bought a 2 pack of iron-on patches from a fabric store and used my moms iron to melt it onto the sleeve of a white t-shirt. Then I took the other heart and cut it right down the middle with a pair of scissors, creating a broken heart, ironed it on to another shirt, and HOMS was born. 

I chose which shirt to wear (whole heart or broken heart) based on how I was feeling when I woke up that morning. I began to notice a big improvement in my overall mood while wearing the shirts, especially while wearing the broken heart tee. I finally felt comfortable expressing myself, and was no longer afraid of what others might think of me if I was sad or depressed. These shirts gave me an emotional outlet, and this emotional outlet was the reason I started HOMS.

HOMS stands for heart on my sleeve, and it represents a clothing line that was created so that people could express themselves. HOMS is a brand that promotes the idea that everyone is different, everyone is unique, everyone is an individual, and everyone should be able to express themselves exactly how they want to. HOMS believes that what you wear should be an extension of who you are.  

HOMS apparel is a physical symbol of the courage it takes talk openly about mental health.

My goal was to create a brand that people felt comfortable wearing not just because the shirt is soft, but because they felt confident and proud of the person they are while wearing it. Through HOMS I hope to build a community of people that are proud to be emotional, and feel like they are a part of something bigger. I wear my heart on my sleeve proudly for everyone to see, hopefully HOMS can help you do the same.

Check out HOMS apparel here and contribute to a stigma free future. All proceeds from HOMS apparel go to Support NAMI Seattle’s free programs and services.