Upasana Integral Design: A Voyage to Crafting
Upasana was born in 1997, originally with one table under a tree, as a garment design and manufacturing unit. An open space for creativity and design in all its forms. Being born within the unique context of Auroville, the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have been an inspiration at Upasana.Upasana means sitting near and this name has been coined to realize the sacred divine presence that permeates the Universe.“Upasana” is based on the rich tradition of Indian textile crafts.
Inspired by the unique aesthetic heritage Upasana has been working on bringing India to the modern world through its vibrant textile tradition. They have been fortunate to work on various fabrics from the simple and elegant to the exquisite, sourced from across the country. Their efforts have now culminated in the “Textile Archive” – a space for preserving, displaying and learning all about textiles and design.With Integral Design, they have also been consciously involved in various projects in design and more – trying to raise design to a level beyond the product and applying it to answer various problems of everyday life and social development.
Upasana has always exciting projects.They have two brands named Paruthi and Devayani.Paruthi is for the cotton textiles, from Organic cotton and Devayani is from the Varanasi Weavers.They also have several projects in their pockets like :
1) Tsunamika (2005):
Tsunamika started as a trauma counseling effort for the fisherwomen in February 2005. Out of the 500 women who were trained to make the dolls between February and May of 2005, 200 have made it their livelihood. Since the doll cannot be bought or sold, a bank account was created to receive donations; the project continues to be completely self-sustained through the contributions of thousands of donors.Tsunamika is the only project post tsunami that is still active. Also, Unesco has recognized the doll with a special endorsement. A storybook on Tsunamika has been translated into 7 international languages.
2) Small Steps (2007):
In India alone approximately 5,600 tones of plastic waste is generated daily that is a hazard to the environment. Upasana started a campaign to bring awareness to this cause saying one tiny step by every person by carrying their own shopping bag could make a big difference. Upasna formally launched Small Steps on Earth Day in 2007. The females stitch the bags at home when they are free and don’t have to travel to a place of work to do this and on an average earn between Rs 1500 to Rs 3000.
3) Varanasi Weavers Project (2007):
Initially started as a small project by Upasna, to make 13,000 banarasi silk scarves as New Year gifts in 2006 for Denmark-based Best Seller Company became a full-fledged project involving the weavers from Varanasi in 2007. Upasana worked with weaving groups (2500) and provided them with design, marketing and sales channels. The products have been presented in international and domestic fashion shows.
4) Kapas (2008):
Kapas is a sustainable business collaborative striving to protect and promote the fragile cotton communities of Tamil Nadu. Failed crops, increased competition, and unfair business practices have driven thousands of cotton farmers and weavers to despair; over 2 lakh cotton farmers have committed suicide in the past decade. As a member of the fashion community, Upasana Design Studio could not silently witness such destruction. Kapas leverages partnerships with several local organizations to: choose only organic and indigenous crops nurtured by all-natural fertilizers; employ a fair business model that improves the livelihood of farmers and weavers; use natural dyes to create top-quality basics with a higher level of consciousness.
5) Paruthi (2011):
Upasana launched Paruthi as a local organic brand to support India’s organic cotton farming community.Upasana works with farmers from seed-to-sale stage by making garments for ladies, kids and gents, and also has separate lines for home furnishing, accessories and yoga-wear.
6) Janaki (2012):
To complete the loop from seed to sale, Upasana launched Janaki (house of conscious living) as its first retail initiative in Pondicherry to sell home furnishing and organic food. Janaki bring the message of a sustainable lifestyle, as a shopping experience, paving a path for the future.
Upasana’s future is one that is disconnected from profit maximization . It is always self-sustained financially. During most of Upasana’s existence 60 per cent of its activity was non-profit and all its various initiatives have been self-funded.Profits generated by Upasana is plowed back into the business and into the various activities supported by Auroville.
“Uma Prajapati, founder of Upasana will be the honorary guest speaker at one of the workshop camps in Jaipur”
Website : http://www.upasana.in
Source : http://goo.gl/mS5au1