Published: 23rd April 2021
Wear inclusivity on your sleeve by picking out T-shirts and badges designed by these Mumbai students
Also, they have notebooks! That's right, students of The Green Acres Academy in Mumbai have started Skinclude, a brand that sheds light on colour discrimination in all its un-'fairness'. Check it out
Judgement comes so naturally to us humans, doesn't it? Take skin tone, for example. Huge issue everywhere, not just in India. Awareness could be key though. The very fact that we are aware that we could be prone to such judgemental behaviour could help us spot and correct. So when the annual Citizenship and Social Change Programme was launched at The Green Acres Academy in Mumbai for students, albeit online because of COVID, colourism was one of the subjects that students had to work on. "The students sign up for the programme and a few are selected. They are divided into groups and they work on projects related to the theme. So there were five teams of which three wrote books, one made a short film and another came out with merchandise," says Sanyukta Bafna, one of the teachers. And it is the latter, Skinclude, that she introduces us to.
That's what you get | (Pic: Skinclude)
All the projects were worked on last year and it was just last month that Skinclude launched its merchandise online and what a collection it is. T-shirts with witty lines like 'The only fairness I want is justice'. Imagine this being a brainchild of nine and 12-year-olds. So Bafna introduces us to one of the core members of the team, Adya Tiwari. "Before we launched, months and months of research was poured into it. We learnt from real-life stories, videos of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Bollywood and the stereotypes it panders to, the Indian cosmetic industry, I mean some fairness creams might have changed their name but their attitude is the same," she says sounding exasperated. That's the vibe of the merchandise, including T-shirts, badges and notebooks and this is their social action project.
Walking the talk | (Pic: Skinclude)
If you like what you are reading, then you will definitely like what they are offering. How they offer it is that they first pen down their designs on paper, pass them on to EFG Store, an online portal that helps your merchandise get a stage of its own for the world to buy, starting at Rs 350. All the proceeds go towards Saturday Art Class, an initiative that works to spark art sensitivity in students. So see, there is more than one noble angle to this project.
The team | (Pic: Skinclude)
But does wearing a T-shirt with a tongue-in-cheek quote really change mindsets? Well, it can certainly serve as a reminder, a checkpoint to reverse our thought process before it influences our decisions. "Even I have had some problems with my complexion and this helped me relate so much more to the project. It also gave me an insight into the behind-the-scenes work that goes on before launching a brand," says the class VII student.
Notebooks | (Pic: Skinclude)
Indeed, Adya tells us that the research itself was so intensive that it changed a lot for all those involved, about 15 of them. She tells us that even the name of the brand required a lot of brainstorming. "But the target has always been not to change behaviours, but change mindsets. Because behaviour and everything else depends on the mindset," says Adya. They have sold over 200 products already and we are sure there are many more sales to come.
For more on them check out efgstore.in/brands/skinclude-greenacres.html