Tees for a Cause
Anishi Khetan 31 May 2013

An ‘online store with a heart’ is how Kultwear describes itself. Anishi Khetan writes about how this unique initiative allows you to help a cause and an artiste, every time you opt for one of its funky Tees

As a nation, we are a cynical and pessimistic lot. We have an opinion on everything but act on nothing. Follow Twitter and you will find many who will teach others how to run a government but, when a person is in distress and asks for help, no one comes forward,” says Kalyan Srinivas, founder of PebbleBay Clothing, a retail apparel-maker from Tirupur. He has hit upon a unique initiative to get fence-sitters to help social causes: Kultwear, a unique online initiative.

If you buy a hip T-shirt with a message from Kultwear, Rs100 from the price goes to a new charity every week. And this is not an empty promise. The cause and the charity with their links are listed on the website, with the amount raised that week as well as the total amount raised by Kultwear. For instance, at the time of writing, Rs1,100 had been raised in just over a day for Bal Utsav, an education initiative of the Child Empowerment Foundation of India. Sometimes, the cause chosen is that of an individual not an organisation’s. For instance, one week, Kultwear raised funds for Chanchal, a 19-year old acid-attack victim from Bihar through an NGO called Video Volunteers. Chanchal, mutilated beyond recognition, needs help for her expensive medical treatment. Another week, Kultwear raised funds for the medical treatment of PM Sahay, a retired banker, who struggles to sell puppets on the streets of Delhi to earn a living.

The important thing about Kultwear is its philosophy—being positive, cheerful and ‘discouraging pity purchase’. This means that you don’t buy an exorbitantly priced T-shirt because of its pious objective. In fact, Kultwear is really serious about the quality of its products and stitching specifications are posted on the website. Yet, as Kalyan points out, “our pricing is lower than market prices for the same quality of T-shirts.”

Another dimension to Kultwear is the effort to encourage artistes from around the world to promote their work in T-shirt design. Kultwear invites submissions from artistes on a fee-plus-royalty-basis. More importantly, it tags the name of each artiste on every T-shirt that is shipped and posts the details on Kultwear.com. For you, as a buyer of T-shirts, Kultwear offers three new designs every week, which are available only for that week, that is, 150 designs to choose from every year.  

Kalyan Srinivas, the founder, comes from a telecom background but entered apparel manufacturing out of passion. He runs PebbleBay Clothing as his ‘bread ‘n butter’ business, while Kultwear fulfils his “urge of doing something for the society”, or to shake up the “collective conscience of millions of Indians to bring a positive change that individual thoughts cannot.” Kultwear.com was started in March 2013 and Kalyan wants to grow it into a brand that will work for social good and provide cheerful, value-for-money clothing and ensure that “no one walks away empty handed.”

T-shirts being the first choice of clothing for millions of youngsters in India, Kultwear is an idea that has the best chance of tugging at the social conscience of our youth. Meanwhile, it has already helped a range of charities including Akshay Patra, Aham Bhumika, New Ark Mission, Red Paws Rescue, classical musicians and Braille books for children. It plans to run impact features on how the funds raised each week have been utilised and how, just by buying one T-shirt, one can bring about a significant change.

After reading about Kultwear’s meticulous effort to get people more involved in social causes, the question is: Will we fulfil its small expectations? It is up to us to make it happen and connect Kultwear with NGOs and people who buy T-shirts.

PebbleBay Clothing,
#14, MGR Nagar, 6th Street,
PN Road, Tirupur  641603
Tel: +91 8097 636327
[email protected]

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