India is home to 15 million blind people, most of whom are trained in craftwork but struggle to find sustainable employment due to social stigma and lack of confidence. During a trip to India, Royal College of Art graduates Jon Fraser, Hal Watts, and Ruby Steel were inspired to do something to raise awareness about preventable blindness and improve the quality of life of blind people in the country. Working with students from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, they developed a technique called scent-beading, which uses a color-scent language that matches the colors of jewelry beads with appropriate scents. With scent-beading, blind artisans can actively design jewelry, giving them a skill they can profit from, enhance over time, and teach to others.
Made in the Dark is the brand that Fraser, Watts, and Steel created to help these blind craftswomen in India sell their scent-beaded jewelry, which are distributed through a growing range of ethical retailers.