Free Press Journal

This Diwali season, go desi with Khadi


Khadi is now a fabric to live for thanks to PM Modi’s support to the humble cloth. Sapna Sarfare finds out more about this Indian fabric for Diwali, in terms of style and gifting option

Our traditions have always thrown up something exquisite. And khadi is the one which is now getting a revival courtesy Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support to the humble fabric. This support has boosted the sales. Earlier designers were incorporating khadi into their designs but now it has become a whole new section growing in number. It has now become a viable option to incorporate into gifts. With Diwali just around the corner, it is but natural we wish to take it a bit further and talk about khadi in fashion and also as a great gifting option.

Growth & PM support
Designer Megha Jain Madaan applauds the PM’s efforts and reveals, “Designers, who were sceptical about the audience responses used to buying mass produced clothes are actually experimenting with the fabric and bringing to life fresh and artsy designs. The acceptance has no doubt increased manifold but its popularity is yet to reach its momentum.”

Designer Pratimaa Pandey has her brand PRAMAA make use of pure & natural fabrics like Khadi and affirm her brand’s belief in ethical & sustainable sourcing. She reveals, “Khadi is one of the best fabrics to suite Indian demographs and weather conditions. With the introduction of govt. initiative towards its revival, more designers are utilising this tremendous resource to apply it in mainstream fashion scenario. There has been a shift towards accepting khadi for quality times.”

Juhi Chawla in a Bhagalpuri khadi suit

Designer Aakansha Agrawal calls khadi a versatile fabric as it can keep one cool in summers and warm in winters. “Earlier the type of khadi available was khadi cotton which was coarse in feel & texture. Now various varieties are available. It will soon become the fabric of future. It was long forgotten but with the help of our government funding solar power charkhas, it will soon become a complete green eco-friendly product which will for sure increase its worth and demand in the market. In fact, at present the demand of khadi outnumbers the supply.”

Ahmedabad-based HOF Furnitures uses khadi in its furniture upholstery. Dhruvin Patel, Director – HOF, opines, “The decision to revive will definitely increase the awareness of Khadi as a viable & eco-friendly alternative vis-a-vis current fabric options available in the market now. The fabric is indigenous and can be sourced locally. The youth, comprising nearly 30% of our population is abreast of all propounded visions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The central push in favour of Khadi I believe, will gain ground with them and convert into higher sales and awareness of the fabric. Growth is inevitable.”

Not so common anymore
With great support, it means khadi being no more a common man’s material choice. Pratimaa tells, “The process of developing handspun Khadi requires multi-level effort. From the fields to the store, the journey is largely supported by hard work of highly skilled craftsmen. Hence, the product arrives with tremendous calibre and price points, which cannot be fed to the masses for daily use. Khadi in itself is a celebration of authenticity and quality.”

Dhruvin thinks this fabric is the fabric of choice across all age brackets. “However, due to lack of awareness of its availability and the benefits of its usage, consumers never really got a chance to experience it well. Until now, there was no holistic platform dedicated to encourage the use of Khadi and educate consumers on the characteristics of the fabric. We have one now with the help our visionary Prime Minister.”

According to Aakansha, pre-independence khadi was associated with political leaders and rural people. “But now it has found its way into the lives of fashion conscious people. Khadi is considered as one of the most beautiful Indian fabric. Many designers are trying to re-introduce khadi to the Indian market to revive the craft and its importance by which makes it a fashionable fabric and likeable by the market.” Megha agrees with this thought and adds, “Often magazines and other popular publication place the garments made out of Khadi as Luxe. Producing khadi garments is an expensive process. This industry gives employment to a lot of weaver and artisans. Hence the price is justified.”

A model walks the ramp in Gaurang Shah’s ‘Kalpavriksha’ collection made from the humble khadi

Great gifting choice
It is time to move on to making it a Diwali gifting option. Dhruvin does agree that numerous products are now coming with khadi option thanks to its workability and flexibility. “Multiple dyeing methods can be employed with Khadi. We would suggest specially designed hand towels, handkerchief and dining table accessories as ideal Diwali gifting options to add a unique touch. Corporate houses can consider gifting Khadi apparels to their employees this Diwali and the family members of all their stakeholders. It will not be just a gift but a gift that asserts sustainability and is a social cause. It boosts employability of the local workforce.”

Megha feels since Diwali is grand in India, the entire community comes together. “What better place than this to spread the message of eco sustainable products. Gifting options like hand bags, table runner, sofa pillow covers and even wall hangers either hand painted or block printed. These Khadi items make great option for home décor during Diwali. For Corporates, khadi tote bags imprinted with the corporate logo will provide ongoing utility for the recipient and a lasting impression of your organization. Decorative Khadi ribbons to put together documents or files can be given. A documents holder made out of Khadi Fabric would not only look unique, but also classy.”

Aakansha too feels options are plentiful, right from shirts, dresses to saris, suits and trousers. “Instead of gifting chocolates or mithai, we should opt for Khadi Stoles. They are organic, eco-friendly and can be worn by men and women with equal panache.”
Pratimaa further reveals, “Diwali is a largest celebration for majority of people who have roots back to their homeland – India. Khadi being an integral part of it, holds tremendous amount of value and emotional connect. Its purity and quality is really nice option to gift during Diwali.”

Wearing & accessorising with Khadi
You wish to wear khadi in style complete with accessories. Aakansha feels Diwali is all about traditions. “Pair up a nice khadi sari enhanced with handwork/embroidery and pair it with a checks khadi woven shirt. Since we worship Goddess Lakshmi on this day, I suggest you must wear some pretty traditional gold jewellery with it. Men should stick to basics. Wear a plain khadi kurta with dhoti and a Nehru jacket. Or there nothing is more stylish than a Khadi Suit.” She asks the ladies to be experimental and pair saris with boots. You can later pair it with a small khadi handmade clutch. Guys can wear a khadi stole around the neck and end the look with kolhapuri chappals.

Hyderabadbased designer Sailesh Singhania presented an inspiring Khadi collection at Lakme Fashion Week this year

Megha reveals, “Women can experiment with Indo-western pieces and style it with statement Khadi tunic tops or scarf. For example, wear a Khadi Sari with off shoulder blouse or shirt. Pair the Khadi Tunic with a scarf and drape a scarf around the neck as a statement accessory. Men on the other hand can drape the Khadi scarf around their kurta in unique styles and loops to create an interesting look. Listing down khadi accessories, we have handcrafted jewellery, footwear, scarves, brooch, etc. Handcrafted jewellery can work as statement pieces paired with kurtis and tops. Likewise, for western ensembles, brooch or even patch work made out of Khadi fabric will look great. Handcrafted khadi footwear is perfect for day wear.”

Pratimaa suggests, “Since Khadi has its natural colour which is slightly different from the shade of off-white, it can be worn as it is, or with naturally dyed shades. Khadi is a versatile fabric and beautiful jewellery can be made out of it. A Khadi scarf with earthy tones or an off-white tone compliments the whole outlook.” It is now easier to look smashing and very Indian with khadi. Your gifting options are too sorted out. Here’s to a happening Diwali.

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