Gandhi’s fabric is weaving a new style statement. Young designers across India are using khadi to make the most stylish clothes in cuts and silhouettes that appeal to this generation.
Actress Sonam Kapoor recently tweeted that khadi is her favourite fabric. Designer Asmita Marwa, who styles Hollywood celebrities in her khadi creations, swears by the fabric’s growing international appeal. What’s more, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), has recently designed denims to give the historic fabric a younger and hip look. KVIC chief executive Arun Kumar Jha says, “It’s essential to create designs that appeal to the young. We don’t want khadi to be boring.”
From stylish half-sleeve formal jackets to designer kurtas and denims for men, to sleeveless dresses for young girls, KVIC is going all out to give khadi a mass urban appeal.
A stylish narrative
Fashion designer Tara Aslam has created a range of palazzos, crop tops, peplum tops, and summery maxi dresses at her spinning and weaving units in rural Karnataka. She says, “Khadi was always a beautiful fabric, the problem was with its perception. With contemporary styling, and fresh, chic silhouettes khadi has become appealing to the young urban lot. And it’s also affordable.” This season, Aslam has combined Bengal khadis with Karnataka khadis for layered garments. “Layered crop tops, tailored dresses, have come out quite well. We want the yonger generation to wear khadi – so we have romper suits, high-waist pants with crop tops and crop jackets too,” adds Aslam.
It was the organic appeal of khadi that appealed to two young designers, Aastha Vashishth and Padma Saldon. They love creating designs in white khadi. Says Aastha, “We like keeping things simple and minimal. Probably that’s the reason why we love khadi. Woven patterns and vegetable dyes bring a new aesthetic to this historic cloth. A well-cut khadi outfit looks uber stylish.” This season they have created dhoti pants.
Designer Rameshwari Kaul’s upcoming collection focuses on kora/grey khadi and engineered woven designs as a homage to the man behind the legendary fabric, Mahatma Gandhi. “We have straight palazzos and ghera palazzos which are in fashion. The younger generation is open to experimenting with fabrics, and they understand the significance of eco-friendly material,” she says.
Khadi accessories are in vogue too. Japanese store Anzu in New York, known for their handcrafted items, is selling wool-khadi polka dot shawls. The Japanese love their khadi stoles, as do the stylish lot in Manhattan. Bess Nielsen, Paris’ best-known khadi store, has tunics that are hot sellers. Says Nielsen, “My dream is to use a lot of colour and chikan embroidery on khadi, with modern techniques.” New York textile designer Lauren Hwang has produced plain khadi upholstery in porcelain white and charcoal hues. Says Hwang, “Khadi used in decor gives a vintage, soft appeal. It is sophisticated and looks very elegant.”
Know your Khadi
– Linen is not khadi: Most linen is being confused as finer khadi. Linen is made from the fibre of flax plants, which are mostly imported from China and then prepared on modern mechanical looms. Khadi is made the old-fashioned way, by hand, and is eco-friendly clothing.
– Unique texture: Khadi is the only fabric where the play of texture is so unique that no two fabrics will be absolutely identical.