Above: Hamilton hopes his apparel will spark conversation.
By Adriana Camacho-Church
Kyle Hamilton, 29, is on a mission. He wants to raise mental health awareness through his clothing line, Mental Blocks.
The logo on Hamilton’s t-shirts, shorts, hoodies, sweatpants, vest and hats consists of four different color stripes. “Each color represents a feeling or state of mind I believe we all suffer from either out loud or in silence,” says the Wilmington resident.
Orange represents self-worth, blue depression, green anxiety, and purple love. “You receive a Purple Heart for being in battle or a war,” says Hamilton, referring to the military award for being wounded in battle. “The emotions we deal with daily is a war, a mental war.”
Hamilton wants his multi-colored logo to spark a conversation about mental health.
“I truly believe mental health isn’t talked about enough,” he says. “It only gets brought up when it’s too late. I grew up in a single parent home and I always felt I had to put my feelings on the back burner to make others feel good. It just builds and builds up.”
Hamilton founded the clothing line and designed the logo in October 2022 with the goal of expressing his creativity, having his own business and helping others. He came up with the name after listening to a song by the artist LaRussel.
“There’s a line (in which the artist) says, ‘Wonder how you deal with all the damage, from all the emotions you couldn’t manage, from all of the trauma you couldn’t heal from, mental blocks you couldn’t build from,’” says Hamilton.
Currently, he runs his business out of his apartment. Customers discover him by word of mouth or Instagram.
Vanessa Colon, 27, discovered Mental Blocks on social media. She bought a hoodie. She says she likes how Hamilton, who she has known since middle school, is using a clothing line to raise mental health awareness.
“Raising awareness can save lives,” says Colon, owner of Over the Border Tacos in Wilmington. “There are a lot of people who suffer from depression and anxiety who unfortunately go through it by themselves. Raising awareness lets people know that they can ask for help.”
To fund his business, Hamilton uses money he saved from working at Amazon. “I’m funding everything,” he says. After working 10-12 hour shifts for over a year he decided to invest in himself instead. He wanted his clothing line to be more than an idea.
Hamilton, who has a 6-year-old son named Tory Charles Hamilton, makes trips to Philadelphia and New Jersey to purchase in bulk the clothes he uses. He also buys different color vinyl to cut and iron the stripes that go on his merchandise.
Before Amazon and Mental Blocks, Hamilton handcrafted pieces of furniture such as desks, tables, and seating for residential and commercial clients. He is a graduate of The Challenge Program, a six-month vocational training program for Delaware’s youth. Since 1995, the program has assisted in earning a high school diploma or GED and job placement services.
“At The Challenge Program, I was taught carpentry and got hired by CP furniture,” he says. CP Furniture brings in graduates from the program and offers them full-time positions with benefits. Hamilton worked there for about five years.
When thinking about the future, Hamilton sees Mental Blocks as a financial support and making a difference in people’s lives. “You never know what someone is experiencing,” he says. He hopes his logo will spark the question, “Hey, what does it mean?”
— Visit Hamilton at Instagram: @MB_mentalblocks