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Designers reinvent khadi, Gandhi’s favourite fabric

Though Khadi has been one of the oldest and traditional forms of hand-spun fabrics of India which was a symbol of self-reliance of the masses since pre Independence era but somewhere it lost its sheen to the modern day textile.

lucknow Updated: Oct 02, 2018 18:43 IST
Deep Saxena
Deep Saxena
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Khadi,Gandhi,Mahatma
Designers feel that perception for khadi needs to be changed and designers are working toward that with the government.

Though Khadi has been one of the oldest and traditional forms of hand-spun fabrics of India which was a symbol of self-reliance of the masses since pre Independence era but somewhere it lost its sheen to the modern day textile.

But now designers feel that perception of khadi needs to be changed and couturiers are working toward giving the fabric a contemporary makeover.

“The endeavour is to give khadi a makeover to set its foot in the global scenario and to introduce state-of-the art designs and styles in garments made in khadi,” says ace fashion designer Ritu Beri, who has volumes of work on the fabric.

Her collection for Khadi India consists of Indo-western silhouettes and reflects the Indian charm with a modern flavour.

Delhi-based fashion designer Manish Tripathi, a Lucknowite, is taking khadi international.

He is exporting pocket squares, ties, home furnishing, apparels and accessories to European countries.

“I am traveling to Moldova (Eastern Europe) as part of a CII delegation and a major portion that I will exhibit is khadi. We are presenting khadi in a celebrated way be it fine or coarse fabric. Its designer’s job to make it attractive first and later buyer should realize that its khadi and they are not doing any favour to promote it,” says Tripathi.

In his fashion line he has khadi at both high-end and prêt collection.

After getting in contact with UP Khadi & Village Industry Board, he is sourcing fabrics from UP samitis.

“With the help of solar charka some good muslin fabric is being made. We are using coarse fabric for coasters and upholstery. In fact, ties made by coarse fabric have good market in Europe,” he adds.

Besides, during a visit to Luckow, during the Investors Summit, Agra-born and Delhi-based fashion designer Varija Bajaj and ace designer Rina Dhaka had called upon chief minister Yogi Adityanath, cabinet minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi and others to promote khadi.

Soha Ali Khan in Asma Hussain’s khadi base outfit.

“We discussed that how khadi could be promoted during the Kumbh Mela (to be held from January 2019) considering it has people coming from all over the world,” she says.

Designers feel that perception for khadi needs to be changed and designers are working toward that with the government.

“Gandhiji gave a call for khadi as he wanted to promote cottage industry, make them self-reliant and help the weavers. We too need to look at that way and to spread its reach to middle class and elites it needs to be given aesthetic value in an artistic way,” says Lucknow-based fashion designer Asma Hussain.

Husain does a lot of khadi-based contemporary, bridal and office wear attire.

She made stoles with chikankari work on khadi fabric that has been presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind besides several dignitaries earlier this year. She is also gearing up for a bridal collection for a big show to be helmed by Khadi board.

Hussain says it should not be restrained to a dress code of politicians and khadi is not just about hand-woven thick cloth at-times dismissed as khaddar.

“Any fabric that is hand-woven and hand-spun is khadi. Brocade, Banarasi silk and chikankari all can be, rather is being, done on khadi fabric. Today, big fashion brands are cashing on cool khadi apparels. So, we need to package them smartly and customers need to shell out some extra money for it as it involves labour cost,” she says.

UP Khadi & Village Industry Board deputy CEO Badri Singh Yadav told HT City, “To give a the traditional fabric modern makeover we have tied up with NIFT, Rae Bareili. For better texture, we are adapting new techniques and opening training centers. We are working on its quality and price control. And to boost the sale we are opening emporiums in Lucknow, Muzaffarnagar and Kanpur.”

In his recent Maan Ki Baat, PM Modi gave a call to buy locally made products, so the “poorest of the poor” can benefit. “Think of purchasing khadi and handloom products on special occasions; this will benefit many weavers,” he had said.

First Published: Oct 02, 2018 18:43 IST