Feb 10th, 2018, 09:24 PM

Did you join the movement already?

By Dorothea Mursch-Edlmayr
Image credit: Dorothea Mursch-Edlmayr
The Conscious Fashion Hub, a South Indian initiative, ushers in a path of increased consumer consciousness in the fashion industry.

Upasana is a conscious fashion label founded in Auroville, South India by Uma Prajapati, twenty years ago. She is an ambitious, strong designer and businesswoman who studied at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi before she came to South India in 1996. Her credo and personal mission is to use the creative power of textiles to get to know her country and to celebrate and push tradition and handcraft on a grassroots level.

Uma Prajapati declares: ”Upasana is based on integrity – I don’t need the certificate of the world, I need to know that Upasana is honest to itself. It’s not about what the world thinks of us, it’s about what we think of us.”

Since its beginning, her brand ties its design to social responsibility, aiming for a change in the fashion world, while celebrating its Indian identity. The goal is to create fashion that has no negative impact on the environment, and to honor the work of every single person involved in the production – from the seed to the garment. Prajapati believes that the process of a garment needs to be valued as much as the end product itself, since every single step is critical for the following one.

Image Credit: Dorothea Mursch-Edlmayr

Over the years, Upasana has initiated many social projects. The brand highly engages with the local cotton farmers to support the cotton communities of Tamil Nadu that struggle with failed crops, increased competition and unfair business practices. Upasanas’ “Paruthi” clothing line stands for full responsibility towards the people and the earth.

The conscious fashion label celebrates tradition, and paired up with the Varanasi weaver community to encourage and develop their work, the “SmallSteps” project aims to make an end to the use of plastic bags by producing carry-on-shopping bags made by women from the surrounding villages and so on.

In 2017, Uma Prajapati established a platform to share the knowledge and mission of Upasana, with the goal to attract more consciousness by initiating a collected space called “The Conscious Fashion Hub”. The project aims to bring together textile and fashion enthusiasts, students, artists, designers, social workers, farmers, businessmen, environmentalists and everyone with an interest in India’s future and the field of sustainability.

“It is created to endorse and acknowledge each other. I believe that we all are stars and we all have the space to shine, and it is the constellation of stars, which is going to make a difference. So I don’t make my little star as the universe, the sky is big and shiny because of the amount of stars. It’s not about Upasana, it’s about voicing out on behalf of a community and attracting more people to feel connected with it,” explains the fashion designer.

The idea is to give people a space to share their stories and to be heard, when that is so often not the case in the fashion world, where the supply chain is simply overlooked. There is no forum for the serious problems that arise in the fashion industry.

The fashion industry, the second largest polluter in the world, has a system based on exploitation of human and environmental capital, continuously trying to cover up the bad features with glamour, beauty and hypocritical perfection. There is a call for more transparency of the companies, but most of all, blind consumerism needs to be put to an end and become replaced with a conscious approach towards fashion.

“The Conscious Fashion Hub” aims to be loud and to be heard. It’s a space of discussion and exchange, pushing the movement towards increased consciousness further – because only knowledge and information about the issues in the industry will change the mindset of consumers and by doing so, the fashion industry. When people know all details about their garments, it’s their responsibility to make a conscious choice about what and whom they want to support with their purchases.

The idea of ‘conscious fashion’ is slowly spreading, but still in it’s baby shoes. Having a conscious approach to fashion goes in line with having a conscious lifestyle; people must be aware that everything we do has a reaction and an impact on people and the environment.

I was able to work with this amazing, purposeful brand in South India in December 2017 during a Sustainable Development Practicum offered by AUP. I helped Upasana with pushing this important project to another level, establishing their social media channels and a concrete content calendar – starting to give the spotlight to the farmers, the spinners, the weavers, the dyers, the printers, the tailors, the designers and so on.

The mission is making the invisible visible, sharing the stories of people that are woven into the garments and making consumers realize that knowing details gives us the chance to reconnect with fashion and to get involved with the process instead of just consuming it.

Image Credit: Dorothea Mursch-Edlmayr

Fashion is part of our daily life, and every single one of us is contributing and supporting, consciously or unconsciously, to exploitation, unethical treatment, overuse and waste of resources and overall violation of human rights, because of a lack of knowledge and awareness.

“Fashion needs to become a conscious space, what means shifting fashion from being a very beauty vanity and exploiting space to a space of responsibility, solidarity and co-creation for a better world,” states Uma Prajapati.

We need to start to make an effort, because right now, that’s what conscious fashion means: you don’t find these fashion stores at every corner, maybe there’s not every trend from the runway covered and sure, it’s more expensive than fast fashion – but discovering the story of your garments, realizing that every single piece is made by human hands and paying a fair price will make you value and understand the handcraft, the given effort and the true cost. Now it’s on you!

Read more about Upasana on their Website upasana.in and don’t forget to follow “The Conscious Fashion Hub” on Social Media:


The Conscious Fashion Hub's Instagram