Sustainable fashion has introduced a new paradigm to the fashion industry. Combining the ideals of eco-friendliness and social responsibility, sustainable fashion is addressing the issue of a holistic approach to development, with a powerful style statement. A major pioneer of this trend in the fashion industry in India has been Upasana, a company created in 1997. Started by Uma Prajapati, the company uses indigenous handloom fabrics to create chic couture. Fabrics are brought from various Indian states, thereby creating employment opportunities in remote locations. The principle of sustainability governs the production, manufacturing, as well as the aesthetic approach of this fashion studio. From using natural dyes to zero waste production, Upasana implements the spiritual quest for moreconscious living. Breaking away from the singular motive of profit making, Upasana as a business model, incorporates a deep commitment towards humanity and the environment.In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, they launched a community rebuilding programme to rehabilitate those who had been left bereft by the calamity. Its development projects supported cotton farmers and fisherwomen in Tamil Nadu. In an interview Prajapati opened up about the vision of her company and said, “At Upasana, business decisions are not made keeping in mind advantages to be reaped in the present, but are based on how we can shape the future for the greatest good of everyone in our supply chain.” Her dedication to the cause of sustainability can be gauged from the fact that Upasana also engages in education and overall development of the communities it works with. Combining a robust business model with the commitment for conscious living, Upasana has indeed embarked on a journey of sustaining the often sidelined Indian textile industry, along with replenishing the livelihoods of many. While the journey is still unfolding, Upasana has shown us the possibilities that lie in taking the road less travelled.
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