By Dorothea Mursch-Edlmayr, written on 03.01.2018
The sustainable fashion brand Upasana stands for “design for change” with a socially responsible approach that goes beyond the product. It stands for the farmers, the weavers, the dyers and the whole production chain, with the mission to bring out India’s identity through textiles. Fashion Designer and founder of Upasana, Uma Prajapati set her principles on ethics and integrity. Over the last 20 years, Upasana has started many projects to support various local communities and to raise awareness for different social issues circling around fashion. In 2017 Upasana launched a new project “The Conscious Fashion Hub”. “Looking at our journey with all the social projects and actions and processes, we’ve realized it’s time to share that, to give a collective space to share and exchange. And since there was none we’ve decided to create one,” explains Uma Prajapati.
“The Conscious Fashion Hub” is a platform to share knowledge and start discussions about social issues such as farmer suicides in India, plastic pollution, fashion waste production, women empowerment and employment, craft empowerment and many more. The platform is initiated by Upasana and is based on principles of ethical business, slow fashion, fashion revolution, fair-trade and community empowerment. Karthik Subramanian is part of the communications team of Upasana and explains the intention of the project as the next step for the brand following its actions and ideologies. He says “the idea is to be louder, to make noise and to make people curious about the noise through sharing knowledge and information about an issue they interact with everyday in their life.” The project aims to bring together textile and fashion enthusiasts, students, artists, designers, social workers, farmers, businessmen, environmentalists and everyone with an interest in the country’s future to discuss, brainstorm and practice sustainability in fashion towards more consciousness. The first event was “The Desi cotton workshop” that took place in June 2017. Speakers and workshops gave the audience the chance to gain knowledge about the history of cotton in India, the lives of the people working with cotton, the dramatic consequences of a non-conscious interaction with our garments. The workshop allowed for a space to ponder, learn and encourage the participants to get involved in the processes of upcycling, natural dyeing and conscious styling.
The first event was dedicated to the topic of cotton because farmer’s suicide in India is the most sensitive issue. It is connected with one of the greatest resources in South India that lost its relation with the tradition and heritage of the country because of exploitation of people and the environment.
Priyadarshini Ravichandran, the photographer for Upasana was very touched by the Desi cotton workshop; “People need to know that there is a history behind textiles especially in India where it’s so closely connected to every region. It’s intertwined with the geography of the region, the arts, the aesthetics – we need to respect the history and art of this beautiful medium called fashion.”
Uma Prajapati’s entry point of conscious fashion is the farmer’s community since day one, to make a change for the people who contribute the base for almost every garment we are wearing. “Conscious fashion is about the story of what you wear and about the garment itself,” explains head of communications Madhumita Chandra. So we need to start to value the whole supply chain and the work and effort of every single person involved in order to understand the long way from the seed to the garment. Conscious fashion means responsible fashion and the understanding that every action has a reaction and each one of us can choose who and what we support with every single purchase. In order to start a conscious way of thinking towards fashion, people need to gain knowledge, people need to ask questions and people need to make the effort of getting involved.
“The Conscious Fashion Hub” is the platform for exchange and reforming perspectives towards a more conscious approach to fashion and it’s real price and value giving the people who plant the seeds, who weave and dye the fabric, who cut, stitch, sew and embroider the textiles a space to tell their stories and be heard. “The platform is a space of collaboration to endorse and acknowledge each other”, states Upasana’s founder Uma Prajapati. We all are involved in fashion in our daily life contributing and supporting consciously or non-consciously – exploitation, unethical treatment, overuse and waste of resources and overall violation of human rights because of a lack of knowledge and awareness. But this excuse of not knowing is not acceptable. Consciousness means making an effort that can result in a change in the bigger picture trying to make the world a better place. And in order to achieve this goal, we need to start a movement of conscious fashion that leads into a conscious lifestyle. Upasana and “The Conscious Fashion Hub” will continue to raise awareness for the issues to help people reconnect with their garments and India’s heritage and tradition with textiles. We need an ethical, sustainable and conscious way with a socially responsible interaction with the whole fashion community.
Read the article on Upasana’s blog as well and don’t forget to follow the Social Media Channels of The Conscious Fashion Hub. Join the movement for more consciousness.