Meet UPRISING, a Los Angeles based performance driven fashion brand with a less is more concept. Founded by Michelle K. Hanabusa, UPRISING brings together modern technology and manufacturing to traditional everyday fashion. Michelle began her career in corporate fashion, where she noticed a disconnect between the company and the consumer. Out of her desire to fill this gap she created UPRISING, a brand that aims to empower, uplift, and unite community. UPRISING’s simplicity aims to minimize the time the consumer thinks about what they are wearing giving them more time to think about what truly matters to them.
Below is a Q&A with Michelle K. Hanabusa, founder of UPRISING.
What inspired you to start UPRISING?
Uprising came about because I felt there was a disconnect between the work I was doing in the 9-5 corporate fashion world and the consumers we were selling to. I wanted to breakaway from that and build a sense of community to uplift and empower one another to cultivate their own journeys. We call them Uprisers (people pushing the boundaries and doing cool sh*t) and my vision for this brand is to empower that. Being brought up in a Japanese American household, I wanted to incorporate that multifunctional aspect to each piece; whether it’s the performance-driven technology in our fabrics, or that you can wear one top in SO many different ways. We’re always on the go; why not have staples in your closet you can rely on to always look fresh (that was a pun by the way). But actually.
How has your career prepared you for starting UPRISING?
My lifestyle and upbringing prepared me for Uprising more than anything else. I trained for over 15 years as a competitive figure skater and I designed all those sparkly, leotard-looking dresses I’m sure you’ve seen on TV — my mom used to spend sleepless nights sewing and remaking them based on the changes I wanted. Bless her heart! In High School, I began studying graphic design and utilizing those skills to screen print designs on tees which eventually led me to selling them at different sorority chapters across the country.
The idea of creating things out of nothing and always using fashion as a platform to express myself intrigued me.
I used this as a creative outlet, but I never imagined I could make a business out of it. Now I utilize my skills in graphic design to complement everything I do for Uprising; whether it’s determining the color palette in our pieces, building and managing our website, or designing other print and digital collaterals.
How difficult was it to keep manufacturing in the USA?
Not difficult at all! I believe it was a conscious choice and something we value as a brand. Yes, it is more costly to produce things but it also means THAT much more to me knowing where we are sourcing our goods, knowing how it’s produced, and that the quality meets our standards.
How important was it to you for UPRISING to be manufactured ethically?
From a scale of 1 to 10? Hard 10. Fashion is the number one pollutant in the world and it is OUR responsibility to not only educate those around us and the generations after, but to also ask ourselves
How can we pursue our dreams while having mindful carbon footprint. We’re in the creative space—why not utilize our creative minds to find different ways to manufacture ethically?
How does your fabric technology differ from other industry leaders?
PERMANENT performance. Many moisture-wicking technical fabrics out there are ‘coated’ on top of their fabric. After ~10 washes, the effectiveness is completely gone. Our DRISE technology is within each thread; making it permanent forever. Pretty cool, right?
How can fashion be a leader in impacting the world?
Fashion is a way to express yourself; just like how sharing your favorite song or artist is a form of expression. I feel that fashion, music, and the arts are all intertwining together to create an experiential world. By opening more doors for creativity, I hope we can create a world where we all have a bigger voice and that doing YOU and being unique is true beauty.
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Founder of Causeartist + Social Entrepreneur + Partner at Charity Charge.