Fashion edit: Six ways to make Khadi cool!

The fabric of freedom is getting a contemporary twist. Here’s how you can incorporate it in your wardrobe
Khadi is India’s bedrock fabric because the yarn itself is hand-spun and then handwoven on handlooms. (Location courtesy: Artisan Lab, Delhi; Models: Allen Konyak, Siddhi Vanmali, Aryan Kholia (Savino Scouting); Make-up and hair: Leeview Biswas)(Hari Nair)
Khadi is India’s bedrock fabric because the yarn itself is hand-spun and then handwoven on handlooms. (Location courtesy: Artisan Lab, Delhi; Models: Allen Konyak, Siddhi Vanmali, Aryan Kholia (Savino Scouting); Make-up and hair: Leeview Biswas)(Hari Nair)
Updated on Nov 23, 2019 11:33 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByDrishti Vij

From India’s freedom movement that was led by hand-spun khadi garments to Sabyasachi Mukherjee, khadi hasn’t just empowered India’s freedom struggle, but many generations after that. Veteran fashion designer Ritu Kumar says, “Khadi is humble because of the very reasons that it is also very elitist in the world of international and Indian fashion. It is India’s bedrock fabric because the yarn itself is hand-spun and then handwoven on handlooms. Both processes are extinct. It is non-violent in its procurement as well as in its execution and that makes it a very ecologically safe fabric.”

Other than being environment-friendly, khadi is now available in cooler iterations, with designers giving a contemporary twist to a fabric that was once considered coarse, dowdy and almost unwearable.

Here’s how you can sport it...

Move with ease in a khadi dress

Beat the Indian summer and stay warm in winters with Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite fabric

Dress, Kanelle; shoes, Crocs; jewellery, Silverline (Hari Nair)
Dress, Kanelle; shoes, Crocs; jewellery, Silverline (Hari Nair)

Style it with: “Something functional like sneakers, keeping in sync with the qualities of the fabric. Khadi is perfect for the Indian climate. It keeps one cool in the summer and warm in winter and is highly comfortable,” says fashion designer Ujjwal Dubey.

Accessorise with: “Minimal jewellery. It could be a great look for a dinner,” adds Ujjwal.

Keep in mind: “To avoid crumples on the fabric, rinse it with starch and dry it only in the shade,” says Ritu Kumar.

Shine in a simple khadi skirt

Reinvent the freedom yarn by layering your khadi skirt with a panelled coat

(From far left) Jumpsuit, Antar-Agni; jewellery, Silverline; Jacket and skirt, Rajesh Pratap Singh; shoes, Charles & Keith; jewellery, Silverline; Kurta, jacket and pants, Amit Wadhwa (Hari Nair)
(From far left) Jumpsuit, Antar-Agni; jewellery, Silverline; Jacket and skirt, Rajesh Pratap Singh; shoes, Charles & Keith; jewellery, Silverline; Kurta, jacket and pants, Amit Wadhwa (Hari Nair)

Style it with: “Wonderful layers. Khadi may not have the drape of a synthetic tulle, for instance, but it can be cut into panels, kalis and even coats. The fabric itself is sensational in the crystal clear minimalistic look that it gives,” says fashion designer Ritu Kumar.

Accessorise with: “Very organic, simple accessories like handmade silver jewellery, corals and natural stones. Avoid wearing regular jewellery like kundan,” suggests Ritu.

Keep in mind: “Khadi shrinks and the colours can bleed too. Dry- clean the fabric or handwash it with cold water to keep away from any colour bleeds,” she says.

Keep it fuss-free in a khadi kurta

Fuse local with global by wearing a hand-spun kurta –India’s most versatile export to the world

Kurta and pants, Amit Wadhwa (Hari Nair)
Kurta and pants, Amit Wadhwa (Hari Nair)

Style it with: “Nothing overt. This look can be worn for semi-formal or formal occasions where there isn’t a dress code. Unlike, popular perception, kurtas can look quirky and cool, make a strong fashion statement and always grabs eyeballs,” says fashion designer Payal Jain.

Accessorise with: “Colourful footwear and possibly a nice sling bag in a bright, pop colour,” adds Payal.

Keep in mind: “Simplicity and sustainability are the key features of this ensemble, don’t add bling, metal or too much fuss; best to keep it understated and natural for it to retain its soul,” she says.

Power dress to perfection in a khadi shirt

Update your workwear wardrobe with lightweight khadi – the fabric that has gone from fighting colonialism to couture

(girl behind) Dress, Payal Khandwala; jewellery, Silverline; shoes, Charles & Keith; Shirt and skirt, Payal Khandwala; jewellery, Silverline (Hari Nair)
(girl behind) Dress, Payal Khandwala; jewellery, Silverline; shoes, Charles & Keith; Shirt and skirt, Payal Khandwala; jewellery, Silverline (Hari Nair)

Style it with: “Some fun bottoms like a printed skirt or interestingly-cut pants. Khadi can be ultra lightweight and thus perfect for an outdoor art show or even a business lunch,” says fashion designer Jenjum Gadi.

Accessorise with: “A simple pearl necklace or bracelet with interesting trinkets,” he suggests.

Keep in mind: “To not do a top- to-bottom khadi look. It can look overwhelming,” he says.

Celebrate homegrown luxury in a khadi coat

Feel feminine by smartly pairing a statement khadi coat with a simple dress

Dress, Yavi; coat, Aekatri; jewellery, Silverline (Hari Nair)
Dress, Yavi; coat, Aekatri; jewellery, Silverline (Hari Nair)

Style it with: “Denims and a T-shirt to give a cool yet intellectual vibe. You can also wear the coat with a sari. Or you can pair it with nice silk or cotton dress to look soft and feminine,” says Jenjum.

Accessorise with: “Chunky silver jewellery for an earthy feeling or add a funky bag to look sporty,” he adds.

Keep in mind: “Remember to always wash darker shades separately,” advises Ritu Kumar.

Perk up monochromes in a khadi jacket

Spin magic into your monochromatic ensemble by giving it the distinct texture of khadi

Jacket, skirt and shirt, Rajesh Pratap Singh; jewellery, Silverline (Hari Nair)
Jacket, skirt and shirt, Rajesh Pratap Singh; jewellery, Silverline (Hari Nair)

Style it with: “Simple footwear, natural hair and make-up to show off the detailing and the texture in the fabric. Allow the focus to remain on the textile and its treatment, not take away by over-styling,” says Payal.

Accessorise with: “Leather footwear and maybe a solid-hued shawl or stole,” she adds.

Keep in mind: “Less is more! Don’t over style or over accessorise this ensemble; it’s pretty complete in itself,” concludes Payal.

From HT Brunch, November 24, 2019

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