revisit i-D’s i-Conic mental health book safe and sound this mental health awareness week
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we revisit i-D’s "Safe and Sound," a book that told the stories of many who’ve come through tough times as inspiration for us all, from Nick Knight to Raf Simons, Giorgio Armani to Ryan McGinley.
In 2005, photographer Mark Lebon told i-D founders Terry and Tricia Jones that one of his top photography students at the London College of Fashion, Charlie Green, had been killed as a passenger in a drink-related car accident.
What followed was Safe and Sound, a book created both in memory of Charlie and in support of young people all over the world. Because being young is hard and being a human is hard and there are times when it can all just feel a bit, well, shit.
So Tricia reached out to people with positive stories of coming through difficult times — drugs, drink, anorexia, loneliness, depression, or serious illness. As the diversity of feedback and contributions grew, so did the scope of the book. As Tricia says: "We have difficult moments many times in our own lives. So the aim of this book is to inspire, even in a small way, with personal stories and creative images and help us realize we are not alone."
And that's really the crux of it, the not alone bit. It's remembering that we all have tough times — even that girl with a few thousand insta followers and a wardrobe filled with activewear and only activewear who still miraculously always has shiny hair; yes, even Beyonce; even the surly bartender who you practically have to beg to take your money in exchange for an overpriced pint; yes, even this dude; even the teenage heartthrob whose lyrics you scrawled all over your high school rucksack in Tip-Ex.
Of course, it's not all equal — the issues are different and the struggles diverse. As are the ways through it — from binging on Ben & Jerry's and Dinner Date reruns with a mate to spilling your deepest woes and secrets to your pet hamster Fred, to seeking the actual medical support you may need.
Regardless, it's always comforting to remember that we're all different and weird and imperfect and human, we all have ups and downs and ins and outs and enough loop-de-loops to rival Thorpe Park, we're all just making it up as we go along. And that sometimes, it's nicer to make things up together.
So in the spirit of i-D, Mental Health Awareness Week, and just genuinely really wanting to get any resources to anyone who'll benefit from them in any way — we're giving Safe and Sound away for free. Well, they actually cost 1 cent because the online store technology literally wouldn't let us put the price as $0. And there's also a postage cost, because, y'know, Australia is far away.
But for 1 cent plus postage, the book is yours. And in the meantime, here are a few words of wisdom from the book and from our icons.
1. Ryan McGinley
2. Kim Gordon
"Everything I've ever done has been difficult. Nothing has come easy."
3. Mario Sorrenti
4. Paul Smith
"My world fell apart the day I had a bad accident running into a car on my bike. After five years of passionate racing with a dream of becoming a professional cyclist, it was all over. After I returned home [from three months in hospital] I arranged to meet some people that I had become friendly with during my time in hospital and by chance the place we arranged to meet, a local pub, was where all the young art college students went. After a few visits I got to know some of them. Slowly a new world emerged from mixing with these future artists, architects, and fashion designers. The rest, they say, is history."
5. Nick Knight
6. Christopher Bailey
7. Jeremy Scott
"I had sent my portfolio to the Fashion Institute of Technology when I was 18 years old in hopes of getting accepted to study. So here I am in Kansas City, a small town boy with big city dreams, and I get this letter back from them saying quote unquote that I lacked originality, creativity, and artistic ability and would therefore not be able to be accepted into the school. Needless to say it was devastating to my 18 year old self! After sulking around my house in Kansas City for a week I then decided to just go to New York and figure it out myself. Nothing was going to change if I didn't chance it — so I went to New York to discover that often when one door closes a whole hallway full of 'em opens!"
8. Raf Simons
"For me, the essence of feeling safe and sound, the fact that there are always people in this world to get you through things, and people who are there for you. It's the ultimate."
9. Giorgio Armani
10. Carryn Franklin
"I believe from the bottom of my heart that the most important relationship I will ever have, is the one I have with myself."
11. Alexander McQueen
Text Georgie Wright