For the past two weeks, I have been working at Upasana on our new Conscious Fashion Team. Upasana is a fashion company which takes a holistic approach in everything it does. Instead of focusing on maximizing profits, they take into account people, planet, and profit into everything they do. My fellow team member and intern Shraddha Mahajan has been working on Upasana’s 2017 launch of our conscious fashion hub. Shradda is a student at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Mumbai. As an up and comer in the fashion industry, I wanted to get a feel of what the sustainable and ethical fashion scene is like in India amongst the younger generation.
Shraddha’s passion is creative writing. At Upasana, she has already begun writing for our new blog which is scheduled to go live this week on www.upasana.in
“Though at our school, we have been taught to communicate through various design means (that include visual merchandising, graphic design, styling, photography, strategy management, marketing, fashion journalism, exhibition design, etc.), I feel myself more inclined towards creative writing as I love the art of language and expressing through words.”
As much as she loves fashion, Shraddha also acknowledges the negative impacts this industry has on the world. At Upasana, she has been doing extensive research on its effects with a focus on India. Through her work on the upcoming blog she will cover topics such as building a more ethical closet, consumption and consumerism, and slow fashion* in order to educate and increase awareness among the fashion community.
“Fashion has been a vital part of our curriculum at school and we as a fashion student must not only be specialized in contributing our skills to the industry in the field of design but must also try to look at the negative impacts caused to the environment and humankind in order to develop solutions for awareness and encourage the idea of sustainability. I think embracing an ethical lifestyle is everyone’s responsibility.”
Although most of her research has been about the dark side of fashion, Shraddha still has hope for the future because of her generation’s potential to educate itself and challenge the status quo.
“Being a fast fashion market and majority of the population being a middle class economy, people are less aware of the idea of sustainable and ethical fashion. But since a large group of population (nearly 70%) now includes youngsters, there is a strong hope and scope for education regarding sustainability and adoption of ethical lifestyle.”
Shraddha’s positive outlook has also been inspired by Auroville, the universal township where Upasana is located. Auroville’s goal is to realize human unity and the transformation of consciousness, but is also concerned with sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind.
“I already knew about Auroville before coming here and the lifestyle always fascinated me which tempted me to experience it. The life at Auroville is much better than I had expected. People are conscious and behave ethically in whatever way they can. For example, waste management, disposing of plastic, paper and vegetable waste separately. In other parts of India, you may not find this.”
It is clear that positive messages about sustainability are already creating positive change in India so that students across India such as Shraddha are drawn to work in Auroville with socially responsible companies such as Upasana. As someone who has seen her passion about conscious fashion, I wish her the best in her journey here and can’t wait to see her work in this space continue.
“I look forward to extend my skills in communication and design. I would also like to empower and please people with what I write.”
Best of luck, Shraddha
*Slow fashion: High quality, timeless, long lasting clothing that is produced ethically.