Max Berkowitz: Options Recognized

Mental Health is a topic of extreme importance in today’s society. Many people, especially in our generation, are reaching out and standing up for mental health awareness. This week, Her Campus sat down with Max Berkowitz, a sophomore at Michigan who created Options Recognized: a lifestyle clothing brand with a goal of de-stigmatizing and spreading the word about mental health disorders.

Her Campus: What made you want to start Options Recognized?

Max Berkowitz: “After going through my own mental health hardships and seeing the lives of family and friends deteriorate because of their disorders, I really felt like I had to do something to help those who feel alone and without a voice. I wanted to start a community in a college environment where people can really support mental health awareness and seek help for themselves and others.”

HC: What is the message of your brand?

MB: “The message of Options Recognized is that whatever you are going through, whether it’s depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or anything else, that you are not alone. We want you to feel as open and communicative as possible. We want people to know that help can always be found, as tough as it seems.”

HC: How do you spread the word of Options?

MB: “I started off promoting Options through my own personal social media like Facebook and Instagram. I also got some of my friends on board to promote on their personal accounts. Over the past month or two, we’ve started a brand ambassador program. We have ambassadors at big universities like Michigan, Indiana, and Syracuse, but we have them at smaller liberal arts schools as well. Basically, we send them gear with the hopes that they’ll spread the word about options and mental health. We also have an Instagram and Facebook targeting ads and we are in the process of contacting some big social media influencers to give us a bigger platform to pass on our message.”

HC: Why, in your opinion, is it important to de-stigmatize mental health?

MB: “In short, it’s so traumatizing and people can and do lose their lives because of their mental health struggles. Many people might not understand these struggles because they haven’t dealt with it themselves or it’s just not the environment they live in. Yet, a lot of people are dealing with many hardships that many times we don’t even know about. Stigmatizing mental health makes people feel more shut out and ostracized and we really want to show people that they are not alone.  I am really big on promoting open communication and honesty and that can’t happen if you are ashamed or embarrassed.”

HC: How can someone buy your clothing?

MB: “All our merchandise is online at the moment but we are contacting smaller shops in New York and other places to hopefully sell our clothing. But if you go to our main website (listed below) you can find all our different types of apparel.”

HC: Do you have any future plans for Options Recognized?

MC: “My goal for the brand is just for it to be as known as possible. I think right now I want to keep working on expanding in the college market because that’s our main target at the moment. We are really just trying to get the word out at Michigan and other schools. We are working on new designs and are in the process of creating our winter line. We’ve also been talking to some other brand companies maybe with possibility of collaboration or sponsorship. But we’re really looking forward to making this brand as big as it can be.”

For more information about Options Recognized visit their Instagram @optionsrecognized, Facebook, or website www.optionsrecognized.com

Photos Courtesy of: Max Berkowitz