The U in Upeksha

By Easwaran Rutnam

She is living her dream and her talent and skills have helped her do that, but for clothes designer Upeksha Hager nothing can make her happier than bringing a smile on the face of her clients.

After moving to Sri Lanka from the United States five years ago Upeksha launched her own brand of clothes known as ‘U by Upeksha Hager’ which is now a sought after brand among her exclusive clients.

“I lived in the US for 20 years and moved to Sri Lanka 5 years ago. After moving to Sri Lanka out of a trunk full of fabrics I had selected I did a collection of clothes and sold them through a local boutique. Then in 2011 and 2012 my clothes were showcased at the Colombo Fashion week,” Upeksha recalled.
Living in a house with an artistic interior, Upeksha said that she never thought of being a fashion designer during her school days and what started as a hobby has now become part of her life.

She describes her clothes line as being sometimes classic, sometimes moody and capricious, sometimes whimsical and over the top.
“I like natural fabrics. I use cotton, linen and silk and don’t use synthetic materials,” she said.

Upeksha imports her fabrics and creates the designs based on the specific requirements of her customers.

Upeksha says she loves painting and sculpting and basically anything to do with visual art and her whole idea of fashion is that it is another form of art.
When designing clothes to meet the requirements of a customer there are times a customer may want some colors and a style which may not necessarily match them and Upeksha says at times like that she does advice her clients on what’s good and what’s bad.

“The dress basically reflects the person. I don’t want the dress to be the focus. I want the person to feel elevated as well. I usually have a chat with my clients and give them some choices before designing the dress. I want them to get involved. But if I feel that what they want does not look good on them then I propose some changes. But I want them to feel comfortable,” she said.

Her clothes line has drawn a positive response from her private clients who keep coming back to her for more and more.

Her entry in the Colombo Fashion Week came about after some of her clothes were spotted by Ajai Vir Singh, President of the Colombo Fashion Week.
“Ajai had seen my designs through some people I knew so when I made the call he already knew about me. It was a last minute thing and I had 20 days to create a collection. My first year was in 2011. In 2013, I was invited back and I’m happy to be a part of it because it’s a great exposure,” she said.

Upeksha says her designs are already being sold in Bangalore, India and she hopes to one day expand her business further.

As for the talent in Sri Lanka, Upeksha says there are so many good fashion designers out there and most of them have a good future ahead. So what plans does the future hold for Upeksha? A mother of a 2 ½ year old boy, Upeksha says her focus these days is on her child and she takes each day as it comes. (Courtesy The Sunday Leader)