Octopied Mind is a fiercely unique clothing brand that launched in 2018. Best friends Jill and Sarah founded the brand to spread hope, happiness, and fulfillment to people of all races and gender expressions. Inspired by the hardships of the human condition, their hand-drawn designs are a satirical take on the daily struggles that provoke meaningful conversations regarding mental health. Octopied Mind is fueled by passion, social consciousness, radical self-responsibility, and acceptance. Sarah and Jill are supported by a like-minded community known as the self-proclaimed “cult members” eager to get their hands on the latest designs every month.
The designs are inspired by Sarah and Jill’s conversations around their struggles and their perspective on the world around them. Such discussions typically involve sarcasm and dark humor to take the edge off what they are going through. Sarah explains, “Jill and I banter in ways that people outside of our dynamic won’t understand. We have always used dark humor to cope with our struggles and trauma as a way of connecting and supporting each other without making things too heavy or too vulnerable”. While Sarah and Jill have become more honest with themselves and each other over the years, they still carried their humorous outlook into their adult lives.
It was moments such as these that inspired clever one-liners to accompany their bold designs. “With age, we have been more straightforward and clear with the things we are struggling with. But we fall back on poking fun at each other and using jokes when life gets rough. In these conversations, we land on a banger phrase or pun once in a while, sometimes accidentally and sometimes on purpose”.
Sarah and Jill began printing their brilliant phrases onto their clothes and wore them within their community. Eventually, what was only understood between Sarah and Jill found resonance with the people around them. “When we went to parties, our friends would cackle at the stuff on our clothing. Jill and I thought it was funny between us, but everyone got a kick out of it. Eventually, I was selling shirts off my back and trading shirts with people at parties. I would go home in a different outfit”.
When creating new designs for Octopied Mind, gender and size inclusivity are among Sarah and Jill’s highest priorities. “While we do consider body shapes and sizes, we don’t separate our clothes by genitals. In our opinion, it’s a strange thing to be separating clothes, to begin with”. Instead, Sarah expresses a more intuitive approach to choosing flattering fits that transcend different gender expressions.
“We think that prioritizing clothing that is appealing to the mind and heart; the body falls into place. Of course, you could spend much energy researching flattering clothing for different body shapes, but we lead this with our hearts and with our customers in mind. Listening to our community and what they want is always the number one thing we have in mind”.
Along with creating a clothing line that all shapes and sizes can wear, Sarah and Jill are also concerned with creating environmentally responsible pieces. Therefore, they operated as a slow fashion brand, only producing each design in small batches. When asked about the challenges of running her clothing business this way, Sarah explained, “Some of the biggest challenges include things selling out quickly, and then we have a swarm of new customers that we have to turn away until the next batch arrives. Otherwise, we have to tell them there is never a guarantee that we reprint something depending on how it performs”. Sarah and Jill also run into obstacles as a small business that prioritizes sustainability and size inclusivity.
Canadian suppliers are still behind on providing ethical materials that will reduce the carbon footprint. Sarah admits, “Sourcing ethical clothing in Canada is truly a battle because there aren’t enough leading and affordable options for small businesses. Many of the products are sourced in Canada; if you do enough research, you find that it’s being sourced overseas. So, it takes a lot of time and research to find the original suppliers and ensure their ethics are in line with your own”.
Sarah and Jill are mindful of using their platform to have meaningful conversations on issues regarding social justice. Octopied Mind and its cult following care deeply about equality and inclusivity, and their discussions amplify the voices of the most marginalized people in society. “We hope to serve as a constant reminder that the fight is certainly not over. Whether by raising money or awareness, we put people whose voices have been silenced at the center of our platform. So, from providing them with space and time to share their content through Instagram lives, workshops, talks, or hosting different types of conversations, to donating funds to organizations like Out Saskatoon”.
For Pride Month, Octopied Mind featured a collection of brilliant Pride-inspired designs. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to OUTSaskatoon, an Indigenous-led organization that addresses LGBT issues. Leading with awareness of herself and her local and global communities, Sarah recognizes the work that still needs to be done. “Even as a queer, indigenous woman myself, I know I have a lot of unlearning to do, and even more listening to do. My focus is to encourage the people in my community to advocate, donate, learn, unlearn, and listen”.
Octopied Mind started as an outlet for Sarah and Jill to express the angst in their personal lives. By connecting with themselves on a deeper level, they have created a unique community of people who share the same interpersonal, spiritual, and worldly values. Sarah and Jill give their customers the gift of unapologetic self-expression through their clothing line, making life a little easier. When asked what “freeing the occupied mind” means to her, Sarah beautifully expressed, “It means changing the internal dialogue that tells us that we are anything less than powerful, magical, talented, capable, intuitive and compassionate human beings”.
For more information on new designs, collaborations, and how you can “join the cult,” visit https://octopiedmind.com/