Our Founder's Story

 

I am Shravani. A 20-something woman of color with an offbeat idea for bringing about social change in a world fractured by intolerance, violence, and apathy.

Not long ago, I was an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto looking at the world through the pages of the textbooks and my life on campus. Strangely, it was a course (on health and activism) that opened my eyes to the world of engagement. While I was mulling on the prevalent issues—racism, gender inequality, poverty, health inequity etc.— a routine shopping expedition lit the spark that led to Changespark.

I was scouring the stores and the Internet in search of a denim jacket when I realized the garment could ideally serve as a blank canvas, holding within it the potential to make a statement.

Why not wear your voice and opinion on you everywhere, all year long? So, the idea was borne. Then came the question of how do I translate my vision?

I decided to start a “Tolerance Collection” which is an apparel brand, each with a printed image and nine powerful letters (tolerance).

I picked this word very carefully, mostly because I thought it had a rather aggressive connotation. I believe, it is high time we dealt with issues of social justice with a clear voice. I want to show that the first step towards acceptance is in fact tolerance, followed by love, care, and inclusivity. Only with tolerance can you build a community.

Sourcing the vendor and pricing and creating an ethical product (minus sweatshop, child labour or exploitation of workers) was in itself a journey of self-realization for us at Changespark.

A long bus-ride and several stops later, I met an independent retailer whose business philosophy matched ours. And this is where the to!erance journey began!