Meet Michelle Hanabusa, The Designer Bringing Activism Into Streetwear

“The true purpose of Uprisers is to collaborate, and tell the stories of activists, trendsetters, and people who we call “warriors of change” because collaborating and working on collections that provoke conversations and actions allow us to mobilize our communities.”

On the latest episode of The Show Up, we sat down with Michelle Hanabusa, the founder and head designer of Los Angeles-based activism-focused streetwear brand Uprisers for an inside look at the genesis of the brand, Hanabusa’s imaginative design process, and her efforts to help lift up her community when it was hit hard by the realities of Covid-19 and the racism toward the Asian American community that came with it.

Hanabusa left a cushy job in the music and fashion industry for the creative freedom that comes with running your own company. A risky move no doubt, but Hanabusa has never been one to shy away from risk, which is why when Covid-19 shutdowns threatened her young three-year-old brand, instead of giving up on her dreams she took that time to regroup with the rest of the Uprisers team. Together, they found a way to both build the brand and help people in need by starting a campaign to raise $1 million in support of BIPOC communities strongly hit by Covid-19 and shed a light on the racism facing the Asian American community.

“When I first started Uprisers there was this level of uncertainty because I wasn’t sure how people were going to respond to this type of messaging because we had this rebellious take… but overall it’s been so positive, people really resonate with that… Uprisers commitment to the community is really where Hate is a Virus was born.”

To find out more about Uprisers, Hate is a Virus, and how Hanabusa’s designs get from her mind to the page and into your closet, check out the latest episode of The Show Up above.