BULLYING is a prevalent problem for young Filipinos. It may be physical, verbal, social, or cyber bullying, and if it is ignored or tolerated, it becomes the norm.

Penshoppe, a pioneer in the local fashion retail industry, is making a stand on this issue with its first public CRS project, #IAmDifferent.

“You know, when you talk about anti-bullying [it’s] really very personal. And I wasn’t sure if people would be willing to lend their voice or their face. But they actually did. And I think, more and more people are being part of the movement now,” Penshoppe brand director Jeff Bascon told the members of the press at the project’s launch on Oct. 23 at the BGC Arts Center.

International brand ambassadors Sandara Park, Bella Hadid, Lucky Blue Smith, Kaia Gerber, and ClubPenshoppePH members Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte, and Sofia Andres were a few among those who helped take a stand and support the project.

What first was considered to be limited edition merchandise expanded to a long-term project.

“It’s not about the brand. It’s about the platform or the advocacy which is spreading awareness about #IAmDifferent [and] anti-bullying. So, we thought that if we make it more limited, then fewer people will have the chance to wear it and represent the anti-bullying campaign,” Mr. Bascon said.

The T-shirts and caps are emblazoned with the statements, “I Am Different” and “Different is good.” Each T-shirt is made of 100% cotton and comes with a unique serial number.

The proceeds from the #IAmDifferent merchandise will benefit Teach for the Philippines, a non-stock, non-profit organization that aims to provide quality education to Filipino youth.

“We feel that this is the closest to what the youth is experiencing now… and not a lot of attention and seriousness is being devoted to it at this point, specially in the Philippines,” Mr. Bascon said about the chosen cause in an interview with BusinessWorld.

“Everybody’s going through it, but not [a lot] of people are realizing that they should not be tolerating it,” he said. – Michelle Anne P. Soliman