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Khadi: The Future Of Sustainable Fashion

Khadi is the key not only because of the fashion and aesthetic factors but it also contributes to the economy by providing employment to a large section of our country.

Photo Credit : PTI


Hand weaving has been prominent since time immemorial and so it makes the craft of Khadi ancient. Historically, the Indus civilization was the first to develop a well formed tradition of textiles. In fact, the discovery of ancient terracotta spindle whorls, bone tools for weaving and terracotta beads are evidence that support the theory that weaving has been around for thousands of years.

Over many years, the Indian textile has become more refined and stylised with natural dyes and broader prints. Besides, by the medieval era, hand-woven Indian muslin became a rage across the world because of its fine translucent quality. In fact, evidence suggests that many European travelers who visited this country during the period speak of the fine cloths which “looked like tissues of the spider web". 

Hence, if we had the ‘khadi spirit’ in us, we would be able to surround ourselves with simplicity in every walk of life. The ‘khadi spirit’ means illimitable patience. For those who know anything about the production of khadi know how much the spinners and weavers have to toil at their trade.

The All India Spinners Association was founded with the intention of propagating the production and sale of khadi in 1925. Today, Khadi is the nation’s fabric. As we observed, Khadi went through many significant changes and transformations from the medieval era, to our independence and now to the modern time. With the increased nature of our modern lifestyle, we tend to forget self-care. Which is very important considering the current lifestyle. This is where we get inspired from our traditional ways. Khadi stands for our traditions, ethnicity and culture that was infused with modern times and every tradition went through little changes to stay relevant. 

The future of Khadi
Khadi’s organic and zero carbon footprint nature allows us to believe that a lot can be done combining the different natural fibers of our country and by keeping the original essence of Khadi and still making it fit for the modern society.

Blending Khadi in a sustainable way is what we are looking at. Hence we can incorporate these ideas from the origin of dying Khadi with vegetable dyes and transform it by adding natural medicinal herbs like neem , tulsi, mint, Carmon, thyme, kola kolsa etc. This will allow Khadi to be a smart fabric with medicinal values.

Incorporating Khadi in our daily life may also pave the way for a simple spiritual living exuded by our clothing and home décor items. Khadi being such a versatile fabric can be easily incorporated, by changing the warp and weft, in a home decor and clothing lines. This will make us come closer to nature and add a touch of earthiness in our lifestyle. Some ways that we might be able to incorporate kala cotton on the weft is by using the natural texture of kala cotton to add an earthy tone to it. Other options might include the natural dyes, the medicinal values and the spiritual outlook inspired by the saints’ clothing.

Some other creative patterns might include details like using Khadi handloom and embellishing it with embroidery, prints and other ornaments and then interlink it with the medicinal values. Khadi when combined with embroidery like chikan, kantha, kashida, ajrakh, block prints, etc. can give rise to festive wear; which is very different from the casual look of Khadi. Hence, Khadi may be incorporated in a variety of occasions in our life from professional to festive, be it our clothing or home décor.

Fashion industry happens to be one of the most waste and pollution generating industries. With the recent effects on the climate, Khadi happens to be the solution to this problem since it is organic and has zero carbon footprint. Besides, with the global temperature rising, Khadi provides a cooling solution both for the producer and the consumer.

Khadi is the key not only because of the fashion and aesthetic factors but it also contributes to the economy by providing employment to a large section of our country. This sector has been doing the weaving of Khadi for generations. Considering not only how skilled their hands are, combining them with the recent development in technology can create fabrics that are not only eco-friendly but also modern. Thus revolutionalising the industry by creating the Smart Khadi.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Vatsala Chopra

The author is Founder, Veave’s Studio

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