Michelle Hanabusa


Founder and Creative Director of UPRISERS + Co-Founder of Hate Is A Virus


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Michelle Hanabusa

Women In Leadership

Michelle K. Hanabusa, Founder & Creative Visionary of LA based streetwear brand UPRISERS®, is a serial entrepreneur and award-winning AAPI community advocate. UPRISERS, founded in 2019, is distributed in over 300+ stores across North America and has business partnerships with over a dozen global brands including Panda Express, AEG and Netflix.

Dedicated to strengthening community, Michelle co-founded Hate Is A Virus, a non-profit that began as a grass-roots social media movement after one t-shirt design sparked digital conversations that resulted in over 15 million impressions in a matter of weeks. Since 2020, Hate Is A Virus works with its community partners to dismantle racism and hate against  Asian Americans and has raised. The California based non-profit has distributed over 1 million dollars to over 60 nonprofit organizations across the nation through their Community Action Fund.

In 2022 Michelle partnered with Shark Tank alumna Mylen Yamamoto-Tansingco (inventor of Cropsticks by Cropmade) to launch special guest — opening its doors to a 7,000sq ft warehouse to support merchandise production, customer service, warehouse and fulfillment for small businesses, creators, and community organizations.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Michelle’s advocacy for community storytelling in the streetwear space has been recognized by ABC News, WWD, Business Insider, NBC Sports, Complex and many more. She has been invited to speak about her ongoing R&D work to reduce waste in the fashion industry as well as female entrepreneurship in male dominated spaces by Fashinnovation in New York City, the Japanese American National Museum, USC Annenberg School of Communication and ArtCenter College of Design in Entrepreneurship.  Her work with Hate Is A Virus has earned awards from the LA Rams’ as a third community pLAymaker honoree and her entrepreneurial journey with UPRISERS has been recognized by iFundWomen and Johnnie Walker as a First Strides Grant Program recipient which included a feature on the jumbotron at Angel City (ACFC)’s National Women’s Soccer League Team game.

Michelle’s women-led streetwear brand UPRISERS® has told over 100 stories in collaboration with community leaders and local activists including Mike Murase, founder of GIDRA and Asia Jackson, creator of the #MagandangMorenx movement. Through their thoughtful campaigns and product design UPRISERS’ research-driven storytelling has also contributed to the digital archival process of historic community spaces like the Southern California Flower Market — The first flower district in LA founded by Japanese Americans in 1912 and Suehiro Cafe — A legacy business founded over 50 years ago by two Japanese immigrant sisters. Instead of following a seasonal collection schedule, UPRISERS releases drops parallel with community issues happening in real time and highlights significant AAPI holidays not recognized on the US federal calendar such as Lunar New Year and Autumn Solstice.

Michelle is an alumna and Renaissance Scholar of the University of Southern California and a sorority member of Delta Delta Delta. She currently serves as a founding committee member for the LA Next Generation Japanese American Leaders initiative in Entertainment — Organized under the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles and is a member of the the Founder Business Accelerator at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) — An accelerator for small businesses in the city of LA focused on economic development and environmental impact.

In 2024 UPRISERS will launch an upcycled collection with Nike as part of the global retailer’s ongoing commitment to develop responsible retail wear to reduce waste and environmental impact.