Stoosh is a social media platform for British black and Asian women to help boost their representation in the media and push messages of female empowerment and sisterhood. We created the brand, launched their Facebook and Instagram channels and created their social media campaigns.
The In Our Skin campaign looks at body image and moments of positive transformation. We curated stories from influencers and ordinary women to share intimately personal struggles to accept themselves and become their own champion and ultimately transform to a state of empowerment. The campaign was picked up by Grazia and Huffington Post who shared the photos and stories in their original form.
In Our Skin inspires women to feel proud of what they’ve got despite society’s stereo typical image of beauty. We cast women who were confident in their natural beauty no matter what insecurity about their appearance they had to overcome. We chose a skin coloured wardrobe, shot in a daylight studio and left images untreated to emphasis raw beauty.
In Our Skin Instagram featured powerful portraits of beautiful women with physical features considered unattractive in some cultures. We married tightly cropped portrait photography with intimate stories of personal transformation – unleashing them to describe how they stopped giving a damn what other people thought of them.
“When I started secondary school, my family and I just moved to a new town. I didn’t have any friends there, I had a different accent, I was one of the only black kids around. It was a difficult time. And on top of that having vitiligo. It all made me kind of stand out.
Vitiligo is a non-contagious condition that creates light patches on my skin. It’s not a big deal technically, but I remember nobody wanted to hold my hand in PE. Kids used to call me “panda” or “cow”. It was all very distressing.
Thankfully I had sessions with an amazing counsellor and the support of great friends and caring family to help me through this. I was starting to have a different frame of mind and be a bit more grown up. Then I met @winnieharlow two years ago at a meet and greet in Stratford. That was pretty life-changing. I thought, “If she can do it, I can do it.” Vitiligo isn’t affecting my health or anything like that so I won’t let it stop me.
It took me years, nearly 15 to be exact, but once I realised that, I realised my power. My vitiligo is my strength, it is helping me reach my full potential and I wear it proud.
It makes me, me. I’m different, I’m unique. There isn’t anybody like me. Other people have vitiligo but nobody – in the 1% population that has vitiligo – nobody will ever have the same vitiligo pattern than me, which is special and truly needs to be celebrated.”
– Rochelle Richards
“I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries at the age of 12. Which means I have more male sex hormone in my body than female sex hormone. And that has allowed me to grow this gorgeous beard.
At first, adjusting to the changes was hard. I was being horrendously bullied. I was skiving school a lot. But when I turned 16, when I hit my lowest point, I thought, “Why am I being punished? When my body is naturally growing like this, when I’ve done nothing wrong.” I made a stand that I was going to keep my beard and embrace her and celebrate her.
I decided to call my beard ‘her’ and I gave her a name as well, Sundari, which means beautiful. Because if you truly love someone you don’t call them ‘it’ or ‘that’. You wouldn’t say ‘it’ to your mum or ‘that’ to your best friend, so why would I turn around and call my beard ‘it’? Nah…
And, you know, there are amazing positives to having a beard. Other than looking buff with it. Thanks to her, I’m a lot more confident, a lot more resilient, a lot stronger. I can use my story to help those going through their trials. They can find inspiration in my voice and my stance in life. I’m here to challenge stereotypes, break down barriers in society. That’s why I was born this way. Fuck it if I don’t fit into society, I’m happy. And people should see that.”
– Harnaam Kaur
The channel gained one thousand new followers in under a month and the content was picked up and featured in The Huffington Post and Grazia.
ACD on In Our Skin campaign: Sophie Webb
Stoosh Concept & Branding: Shams Mansur
Stoosh Brand Designer: Paul Sparks
Social Media Manager: Layla Bradford
In Our Skin Concept & Photographer: Mike Radford
In Our Skin Copywriter: Anaelle Amarasinghe
In Our Skin Art Director: Jess Waters
In Our Skin Designer: Tammy Johal