Madhappy Takes Over NYC, L.A. for Mental Health Awareness Month

Madhappy wants to make sure you’re OK.

The Los Angeles-based brand that celebrated it’s fifth anniversary in April is rolling out a number of initiatives for Mental Health Awareness Month in May, including capsule collections, their latest Out of Home campaign billboards in L.A. and New York City, and has new stores planned for this year.

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In late April, Madhappy launched positive-message billboards across Los Angeles with phrases like “empathy is free” and “treat yourself like someone you love,” which will run throughout May. On Monday, it officially took over Times Square’s spatial billboard with a similar theme of positive phrases and symbols to “spread optimism to the city,” said Madhappy senior brand manager Ravi Shah, also to run through the month.

On Tuesday the brand will launch a jersey and fleece capsule collection supporting the recently established Madhappy Foundation and on May 12, will introduce a vibrant and psychedelic Mental Health Awareness Month capsule. The collections will be available on the Madhappy’s website and at its Melrose location.

“I think Madhappy has become so successful tapping into Gen Z and meeting cultural relevance with something mission-driven. Mental Health Daily was a combo of two,” said Shah.

Mental Health Daily, one of many initiatives around mental health that Madhappy kicked off, was a digital campaign where friends of the brand answered a series of daily questions on Instagram. The brand wanted to show how mental health challenges and successes cross age, race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status among other differentiators.

The push for mental health awareness comes from a personal place for the brand as well. Cofounder Mason Spector has been vocal about his battles with addiction, depression and suicide. He is also the co-host of the Madhappy Podcast with fellow cofounder Peiman Raf. On the show, they have weekly conversations with special guests about their personal experiences.

“This is very personal to him,” Shah said. “As this became something we said let’s make the brand more impactful than just apparel. Mental health has been important for the founding team. It’s hard for people to place us in a competitor space, because we operate in streetwear but a pseudo mental health space. I think that’s what’s exciting about the future of the brand for sure.”

Spector said growing Madhappy forced him to face his issues with anxiety and depression head on as they manifested into addiction. Tackling the issues led him down a path of sobriety.

“The things I have faced will be things I deal with for the rest of my life, but I now have the skills to deal with them productively; learning to live with them,” Spector said. “I realized the real lesson in all of this is that I am not ashamed of my experiences. They have made me who I am, and if anything, they have also illustrated how mental health is so important and should be taken seriously. I am fortunate enough where I can incorporate these lessons into my professional life too, where Madhappy’s ethos aligns with a lot of my own personal struggles.”

Spector, Raf, his brother and celebrity stylist Noah Raf, and Joshua Sitt cofounded Madhappy after seeing a lack of inclusivity in fashion. “As they grew up around West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, they were around brands that had an air of exclusivity,” Shah explained. “There wasn’t a sense of warmth or welcoming or positivity. This ‘too cool for school’ vibe and wanting to be something you’re not. Welcoming everybody was always top of mind.”

The cofounders opened pop-ups in Los Angeles and New York City in 2017, and secured $1.8 million in seed funding led by LVMH Luxury Ventures in 2019.

Shah revealed plans to open more physical doors this summer and fall but did not divulge the cities. Madhappy has toured pop-up retail locations over the years, including Los Angeles, New York City, Miami and Aspen in multiple years. Last December, they touched down in the city to host 70 members of its community to host mental health activities like guided meditation led by Jesse Israel & Jackie Cantwell, skiing and snowboarding, dinners and to gift its entire collection. Shah said, “We want to keep the brand exclusive to our doors.”

Madhappy partnered with Meta to support the collection and build hype and awareness. The brand reported first-day sales figures that were among the company’s best since it launched in 2017.

In 2021, Madhappy launched its Out of Home campaign for Mental Health Awareness Month and World Mental Health Day and dropped capsule collections for both events. The brand also launched the Madhappy Journal to encourage journaling and help buyers establish the self-care habit.

“It quickly became one of our biggest-selling items of the year,” Shah said. “People feel daunted starting journaling, but we wanted to guide you through that process.”

In past years, Madhappy partnered with The Jed Foundation, Project Healthy Minds, and The University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center for conversations, research and efforts centered on mental health and this year, the company established the Madhappy Foundation to put resources in the right hands to improve mental health globally. The brand launched a collection with the Los Angeles Lakers this year to benefit the foundation, just one of eight collections they have launched this year to support the foundation.

While 1 percent of its sales go to the Madhappy Foundation, 100 percent of the proceeds of the Madhappy Foundation capsule will go to the organization.

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