Fast Company: Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), the conglomerate that owns many of the world’s best-known luxury brands, has just invested in a startup called Madhappy.
Madhappy Cofounder Peiman Raf says that the brand is on a mission to make the world a more optimistic place by creating conversations around mental health.
Madhappy is not the first “optimistic lifestyle brand” promoting mental health awareness, (Life Is Good has done very well promoting optimism) so why is LVMH investing in Madhappy, and why now?
Life Is Good is genuine, but not cool. Madhappy is cool, and embedded in a sense of coolness is a sense of exclusivity, regardless of how much Madhappy’s cofounder talks about wanting the brand to be inclusive: “Growing up, we found that many streetwear labels seemed to be very exclusive, and we wanted to create a brand that was the opposite of that,” he says.
On trend colors and aloof models helps the coolness. Celebrity endorsements also can’t hurt: Gigi Hadid, Steph Curry, Katy Perry, and Cardi B have all been seen wearing Madhappy.
Irony alert: Coolness is about being in the in-crowd, but to have an in-crowd requires there to be outsiders. The coolness of Madhappy plays right into the social anxieties at the foundation of the mental health problems it claims to want to solve.
Why it’s hot?
1. This trend of brands aligning themselves with social issues speaks to our ongoing negotiation on the role we want brands to play in our lives. (See this week’s Lululemon post) If talking about mental health is cool, will more people get the help they need?
2. It seems the mental-health meme has reached a critical-enough mass in pop culture to be deemed profitable as a brand identity for a streetwear company. How much money from its $70 t-shirt sales Madhappy might dedicate to mental health initiatives remains to be seen.
3. How much of its target market’s mental health problems are a result of the culture that creates the conditions on which a Madhappy can thrive?