Future of Global Indian Fashion

Source: Textile Review

Gandhi wrote that Swaraj (self-rule) without swadeshi (country made goods) is a lifeless corpse and if Swadeshi is the soul of Swaraj, khadi is the spirit of swadeshi. Therefore khadi became not only a symbol of revolution and resistance but part of an Indian identity. Khadi has always been a fabric with attitude. It has now become a fashion statement. Its journey from its eventful birth as the fabric favoured by revolutionaries, to designer boutiques and elite consciousness. The handspun cotton, known as Khadi is of special significance to Indians. Gandhi elevated the brittle thread of cotton to a symbol of strength and self-sufficiency, and to provide employment for the millions during India's freedom struggle, and that symbolism of wearing cloth made by human hands has continued till this day.

The handmade quality of the khadi fabric with inherent defects is its real beauty and that is what the buyer wants at times. It is not a poor man's fabric although it provides employment to the poor man. Today khadi has many faces which are not just restricted to cotton. Khadi is quite competitive now depending on the style of the garment. Now many Indian fashion designers believe that Khadi is India's answer to Egyptian cotton and linen. It falls well and becomes second skin after two washes. It breathes, it has a self-texture. It has been blended with denim, wool, polyester and silk with good results. There is a need to re-educate the people about khadi. Khadi is very relevant to our times. It is an eco-friendly, non-synthetic, healthy fabric that makes good dressing sense.

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About the Authors

Shaleni Bajpai is a Senior Research Officer & Manisha Gahlot is a Senior Research Fellow with Dept. of Clothing & Textiles, College of Home Science, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand.

Originally published in Textile Review, Jan-2011