Jeff Shreds: The clothing brand raising awareness for mental illness

Jeff Shreds: The clothing brand raising awareness for mental illness

Jeff Shreds is the clothing brand with a cause. Created and designed by Torquay’s Ryan Torpy, Jeff Shreds came about as a coping mechanism for Torpy’s generalised anxiety disorder, to stop bad thoughts and panic attacks through drawing designs to keep his mind busy and on the present.

“At its worst, I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t leave the house without having a panic attack. I couldn’t even go to the supermarket. All the little things you take for granted. I went down to Waurn Ponds with my brother who had to get some stuff for uni and just grabbed some pencils and paper and that’s pretty much where it started. I just wanted to get back into everything and the drawing helped me do that,” he says.

From converting his designs onto T-shirts in the hope of picking himself up and returning to doing things he had previously enjoyed, Torpy never imagined that he would create a successful business from his hobby.

“I can still remember the guy that bought the very first shirt. I’ve sold over 1,000 now,” Torpy says. “The first market I did, I didn’t sell a thing. It was sort of a trash and treasure market and I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. I got into the Nightjar markets and a tourist from Melbourne bought the first one. He had some nice things to say about it too.”

Along with creating quality and stylish men’s street clothing, Torpy uses his platform to spread awareness about generalised anxiety, and erase the stigma that surrounds mental illness after loosing a friend to depression in 2014. As something he has had to battle with himself, Torpy has made it his mission to spread his story in the hope of helping others, encouraging those suffering to seek help.

“Most of the time they just want someone to talk to and to make sure that what they’re feeling is normal. They’re almost scared that what they’re feeling isn’t right. Everyone realises pretty quickly that everyone’s got stuff going on in their lives. Once they let stuff out, they realise that it’s not that bad.”

As part of his mission, Torpy held an event ‘Shredding The Light’ last year, specifically raising funds for beyondblue with a Jeff Shreds clothing sale, finger print design studio prints, DJ Sly Cactus and guest speakers.

With the recent release of the winter range, Torpy is looking towards the future and hopes to further spread his positive messages and potentially open his own store one day. “I used to do shop fit-outs for Ghanda Clothing so I’m sort of looking at doing my own shop. I’m just waiting for an opportunity to present itself,” he says, “I’m at a good spot at the moment. When it happens it’ll happen.”

You can check out the new Jeff Shreds range at www.jeffshreds.com

Written by Chelsea King