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How Style, Art And Poetry Can Help Injured Soldiers

1 week agoMr Porter

From left: Staff Sergeant Archie Gemmell, Captain Alexander Perkins, Lance Corporal William Cassidy Little, Captain Stuart Croxford, Sapper Henry Saky and Sapper Matt Weston, photographed in 2014. Photograph by Mr Ben Weller

This year marks a decade since the charity Style For Soldiers was founded by designer Ms Emma Willis to support severe casualties that return from war. With a nod to the military tradition of smart appearance and dress code, the initiative was founded when Ms Willis – best known for her immaculately-crafted shirtsboxers and dressing gowns – visited Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey to fit wounded servicemen for bespoke clothing.

Her rationale is simple: if a combat jacket and flak vest is the uniform of a soldier, then a shirt and tie is the uniform of a civilian; and a bespoke shirt or suit can help a wounded soldier ease his way back into civilian life and give him the confidence and self-esteem to re-enter the job market. What started as a small gesture back in 2008 has led to initiative that has since supported 750 injured service personnel.

Many of these serviceman, over the course of 10 years, have turned instinctively to art and poetry to help with the psychological healing process. Their work is displayed at an exhibition at La Galleria, Pall Mall. Art in The Aftermath will feature art, poetry and film created by former servicemen suffering from PTSD or brain injury predominantly incurred in Afghanistan, as well as imagery of Ms Willis’ visits to Headley Court rehabilitation center. Also on display will be MR PORTER’s photographs of some of the exceptionally brave ex-servicemen who have benefited from the charitable incentive’s work, shot by photographers Messrs Ben Weller and Boo George. This year marks 100 years since the end of WWI, which adds extra potency to Ms Willis’ exhibition.