Our Tree of Time
Upasana's Tree of Time: Our extended brands from 1997-2021.
Since past 20 and more years, Upasana has been focused on the grass-root movements that concerned fashion, sustainability, ecology, weavers, artisans etc. Through integral design in clothing, we have healed and grown as individuals and communities. Each project at Upasana has been deeply personal and thereby eternal in its search of answers to the many mistakes that we as humans have made in our fast-paced lifestyle.
Our mission is to create conscious sustainable fashion where we take care of our environmental cost and don't pass it on to the future. For us, design is creative problem-solving. Any problem, be it post-tsunami trauma, farmer suicides, garbage littering, weavers losing their job, Upasana approaches the social issues to create paradigm shifts.
At Upasana, we honor them all: the lives of farmers, spinners, weavers, printers, tailors, designers and many more who have invisibly woven their souls into what we wear, consciously, at every stage of crafting our products.
So far through Integral Design, we have explored:
- Design as different dimension of life
- Design as Responsibility
- Design at Auroville for the mankind
- Design and Wastage
- Design and Disaster
- Design and Body inclusiveness
- Design and Fashion
- Design and Service, and much more.
Wondering how we did it all? Go on, watch our many stories here. Witness our Tree of Time showcasing many decades of work, encapsulated as below:
1997: Uma comes to Auroville with Rs. 2000 and a dream and thus seed for Upasana was planted.
2001: Upasana sets the intention for the philosophy of discovering India through textile, with a focus on traditional Indian textiles, natural dyes, Indian designs. In the year when the Bhuj earthquake took place, Upasana steps into Social Constructive Programs in that region. This involved training and giving individuals access and skills that would help them make major shifts in their lifestyles, presenting them with focused choices, resulting in empowerment women, creating sustainable economic practices, respecting the geography, culture, traditions and values of that society in Bhuj, Kutch.
2003: Upasana's Conscious Fashion Hub commences by foraying into the field of education, with workshops and training for students of Design. The theme of Fashion and Recycling runs unbroken and seamlessly smooth through all of these workshops. Active research work is undertaken to explore a synthesis of Ancient and traditional designs: of textiles, clothing, lifestyle, where everything, each object, was endowed with a consciousness and due respect was given.
2004: Upasana's Tsunamika was born as a symbol of hope for Tsunami victims, providing livelihood to fisherwomen. Started as a trauma counselling effort for fisherwomen after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, today more than five million Tsunamika dolls are made and sent to over 80 countries. Tsunamika has now become a ’symbol of hope’ as gifts of love and friendship. The raw material came from industrial waste and more than 600 women were taught to make them. Tsunamika runs on ’gift economy’ - it is never sold, but given. The project runs on community support where people take dolls and contribute as per their capacity. Tsunamika project has been given the ‘Award of Excellence’ by the Government of India and a special recognition by UNESCO.
2006: Upasana's Varanasi Weavers as a initiative with the weaving communities of Varanasi. Upasana begins to work with weavers community in Benaras in 2006 and later went on to introduce a brand called ’Varanasi Weavers.’ This project encourages the weavers to continue what they are good in – weaving. Upasana involves itself with the community with social intervention, design, communication solutions and marketing. This project was granted special recognition by the UNESCO. Upasana introduces Varanasi both nationally and globally and has also brought many brands to work in support of the weavers community.
2007: Upasana's outreach initiative 'Small Steps' was created for forming compact bags as an alternative to plastic bags, taking design to solve a environmental crisis, empowering women, making India green, inspiring youth and thus creating a social business. We say it very succinctly we believe: Small Steps, Simpler Shifts!
2008: Kapas, an organic cotton project tries to promote the families of Madurai and other cotton communities of Tamil Nadu. Modern cotton farming methods lead to the decline of farmers involved in organic cotton farming which resulted in numerous farmer suicides. Upasana has uplifted the organic cotton farming again and has become a light of hope for the weavers
2009: Works in Tharagambadi, South of Pondicherry in Tranquebar project with INTACH and Bestseller Fund.
2011: Takes leap to 100 % organic Paruthi (meaning cotton in Tamil), thereby promoting Responsible Fashion.
2012: Enters conscious retail through Janaki, the House of Auroville, Pondicherry promoting a conscious and healthy lifestyle.
2021: Steps into the new future of integrated brand stewarding towards Conscious Clothing Circle of Auroville.