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  • Beth Johnstone

“This is my body, I am in complete control.”

© Dhammit Tat, @dhammit.tat via Instagram

TW: Sexual Assault, Rape

Through her brand, Dhammit Tat, Hannah heals from sexual trauma.

Dhammit Tat is a young brand with a strong sense of identity and purpose. Hannah Cornall, the brand’s 23-year-old founder, designer, maker and “much more”, brings originality and a progressive ethos to classic punk aesthetics. Working primarily in black, white and red, Hannah’s look is rugged yet defined, with echoes of steampunk and crust punk, and references to the unapologetic activism and designs of Vivienne Westwood.

At odds with the brand’s aesthetic, but perhaps not its message, is its location. Hannah and her brand have made a home of Todmorden, a small town in West Yorkshire. And though it seems an unlikely placement, the area’s natural beauty compliments Dhammit in a way that isn’t at first obvious. When Hannah launched Dhammit on May 7th 2019, she was studying to become a facilitator of Breathwork – a meditative practice focusing on, you guessed it, the breath, that is believed to have mental, physical and spiritual benefits. Hannah’s initial desire to “be honest and open about what [she] was up to other than running the brand” has led to mental health and wellbeing becoming a central part of Dhammit’s ethos. “It’s really important to me to be open about my journey with mental health and the relationship between clothes and mental wellbeing,” she says, and in a way that sets her apart from many creatives, Hannah’s focus on mental health is consistent and direct.

© Curated by GIRLS, @curatedbygirls via Instagram, photographed by Anna Nygård

Before founding Dhammit, Hannah did her Art Foundation year at Leeds College of Art. She then went to Central Saint Martins to study Performance: Design and Practice, but was raped four days before the beginning of the course. After a term at Saint Martins she took a year out: “Then when I returned, I realised I wanted to focus on fully recovering from the trauma and pursuing my artistic practice independently.” To begin with, Dhammit Tat sold tote bags and t-shirts – it wasn’t until December 2019 that Hannah upcycled her first corset. Corsets are now a staple of the brand, embodying the sexual empowerment that has been so central to Hannah’s recovery: “Being raped sent me on a real journey with my own sexuality; it meant having to reclaim my body and my power. Doing something tangible like wearing figure accentuating clothing, taking pictures, and showing the world is a great way to ground back down into the body. It has allowed me to say ‘This is my body, my choice, I am in complete control.’ It has been very healing.”

© Off The Rails, @offtherailsmag via Instagram, photographed by Jade Hannah

Hannah advocates for styling as a form of rebellion and self-care: “What you wear is such an accessible tool to gain some control over how you feel, and I try to encourage buying second hand, choosing well, and really just taking time to think about how you want to portray yourself to the world. Dressing strong will make you feel strong! Dressing comfy and warm will make you feel safe. Even if it is in the smallest way, it can help, and that can be an entry point into the world of self-love; caring about how you look, caring about how you feel.” For Hannah, and fans of Dhammit, nothing beats the corset: “Anyone can wear them and feel powerful, bold and sexy! I try to portray a range of bodies, ethnicities and genders. Corsets are not only for women!”

© Dhammit Tat, @dhammit.tat via Instagram

On the Dhammit Tat Instagram page, Hannah shares content relating not only to the products she makes and sells, but to mental health, spirituality, wellbeing and artistic practice.

Follow Dhammit Tat on Instagram @dhammit.tat


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