Sustainable Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, on the streets, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. – Coco Chanel.

Our fashion speaks a language of style and appearance. However, there are others shaping it as a way of living. Uma, the founder of Upasana, is framing her business with a bold outline of her ethical values. Along the years, her beliefs and actions have helped her to come up with her own peculiar thoughts about the fashion she offers.

1. What is the perception of sustainable fashion for Upasana?
Uma – Sustainable fashion at Upasana is aligning textiles and fashion together such that it is people and planet friendly. Belonging to the second largest polluting industry is an alarming fact. We term clothing as a need but we rather have an overflowing wardrobe than we require. Clothing has become a product elevating industrialisation and paying less attention to the indigenous human force.
The idea of sustainable fashion is contextual and may differ for all. In any other part of the world, we would talk a different language for sustainable fashion. Being in Southern India, it is important for us to work with the craft and textile communities around for their betterment. Our context focuses on nurturing and empowering communities to contribute something positive to their life that declines costing a huge price to the planet. We strive to make the industry as a collaborative platform that can work in the favour of people and the planet and yet create beauty. Just beauty and vanity are not our interest and priority.

2. What triggered it to start as a sustainable brand?
Uma – The greed to obtain more cotton has resulted in farmer suicide and treatment of soil with tons of chemicals. The suicide of thousands of cotton farmers was a catastrophe that pitched us into sustainable fashion. Being into fashion industry and working as a brand, Upasana takes the responsibility of community welfare.

fashion-of-yoga3.What area of sustainability is into more focus by Upasana?
Uma – We are trying to evolve in all dimensions, be it society, environment or cultural heritage protection. Upasana chooses to stay connected to its own roots and be capable to explore and experiment around it. We care for farmers, weavers, other supply chain members and are concerned about the processes, materials we use and post-use of our products. This contextual reality of Upasana became our window entry. Our definition of sustainability does not need to become a yardstick for all.

4.Can you point some sustainable practices that it follows?
Uma – Sustainability is the glass we wear while working in Upasana. We bid to use organic cotton, natural dyes and handloom fabrics. We consume powerloom fabrics too for the base fabric but prefer khadi. To confer the community in a meaningful way, we assure healthy working conditions and payment we are able to offer. We enhance our premise to be a learning space.

5.What are next motives or aims of Upasana in the field of sustainability?
Uma – Holding all parameters and diameters, we aim at existing as a business, making profit, sharing with the community and have a sense of abundance around it. Sustainable fashion is not the space of scarcity but of beauty, abundance and generosity.

6.What is Upasana trying to achieve?
Uma – Business yoga! Profit is not coded with exploitation, it is possible to be profitable while being social, holistic and integral. We endeavour to expand, survive and live following on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy of Auroville.