Rebel-ing Out Loud

Ashlyn receiving the Young-Preneur of the Year Award at SEBA 2021

In 2019, 13-year-old activist Ashlyn Nisha Gurupatham founded Rebel to provide a platform for young teens to speak up about what is right and make a statement through her apparel brand. Rebel is all about putting power in the hands of teenagers and allowing their voices to be heard, loud, and clear. They amplify the voices of young adults all around the world by putting their opinions and personal stories onto their T-shirts.

“Teenagers are considered “rebellious” whenever we express views that differ from our parents or other adults. It is considered “talking-back” or being disrespectful. So, the idea behind Rebel was to provide people, especially teenagers, a way to express their thoughts, ideas, and beliefs without having to say it out loud.

It’s meant to encourage young people to speak up and to stand up for causes that are important to them. And what better way to do that than through a T-shirt with a message that you believe in? I figure that if enough people wear a shirt with a message for humanity, we’re no longer individual rebels, so much as we’re now all a part of a rebellion for a cause,” said Ashlyn in an exclusive interview with BusinessToday.

The Essence of Rebel

Rebel is a social enterprise hence a large percentage of the profit made from selling their T-shirts will go to organisations and charities that contribute and support the same causes.

So, the irony is that rebel is not about the product, it is about a message, it is about a mission. Society is moving towards a direction where we now see the value in social causes over profit. 

Challenges Faced

“The last two years were very challenging because of Covid-19. I had made a lot of different plans for my brand at that point then the pandemic hit, and I had to adapt and move in a completely different direction.

So, I moved towards more online mediums: I created a website and started an online talk show called rebel for change. I also joined the world youth leading change platform, which is an online forum where youths around the world discuss issues that they face and their opinions of the world around them.”

Moving Forward

“Be brave, be bold, be brilliant. If you ever need a reminder, I happen to have a t-shirt for sale that says that. Most importantly though, be rebellious,” concluded Ashlyn.

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