Let me take on a little walk to the Gandhian times where it all started and how Khadi is as a fabric led to revolution in India.
Till the mid-eighteenth century Indian handicraft products were greatly demanded in the markets not only in India but all over the world. When the Britishers entered India, it had ruined the life of Artisans and Craftsman. Industrial Revolution in England and the economic policy of the East India Company jointly closed the markets for Indian handicrafts. This is when Mahatma Gandhi initiated the ‘Charkha’ and ‘Khadi’ movement, which were an expression of economic development. It focused on the poor and the under privileged.
When most of us think of the term Khadi, we think of the pristine white kurta or an ensemble of a political or a social leader. It is a term that many people in our generation do not consider imagining to wear as we’ve been fed on a diet of fast fashion.
Now, a few of our Indian designers and brands have started experimenting with Khadi as a fabric, and giving it a new fashion face which looks immensely beautiful as an attire. I have shortlisted some of the online fashion brands who have given Khadi a whole new world and have directly connected the buyers and the artisans by producing supreme designs and empowering our local artisans with the right knowledge and trends.
1. METAPHOR RACHA
Metaphor Racha’s focuses on traditional values along with a commercial approach. It not only leads to economic empowerment for ordinary craftsman to become problem solvers but also yields a higher value for a customer. As a part of our ongoing efforts Metaphor brings in transparency in business by bringing the team members and artisans to the forefront. It pays wages for people who are involved in spinning , weaving , warping , cutting , tailoring , dyeing , printing. Following the traditional Khadi making techniques, its raw material includes rowing cotton , starch , dye , threads , buttons and etc.
2. ELEVEN ELEVEN (11-11)
Eleven eleven has consolidated its roots in Khadi, while emphasising on creating links between farmers, weavers, vegetable dyeing and block printing traditions. This resulted in a coherent and meaningful high fashion garment line that created grounds for ethical products while ensuring sustainability of local strengths. Khadi Denim, Kala cotton, 300 count Khadi Cotton, Ari Silk are few textile used with 11.11’s signature.
Uma, the founder of Upasana, strongly believes in change, and has developed a pertinently wider mindset for the fashion she offers. In this expedition towards getting closer to sustainability, her fashion bridges the gap between consumerism and ethics. The Desi Cotton Workshop at Upasana is an initiative to discuss and inspire the community, and spread awareness about the local cotton farming practices. This workshop is born from the concern of what the fashion industry is capable of. Glamour and vanity has taken over the industry, diverting us from what is important and the well being of our society. Upasana wants to help change the direction of this industry, where we head towards responsibility and consciousness instead.
4. PEELI DORI
Peeli Dori is an idea to create a lifestyle that is raw, classy, sustainable and organic.It is a contemporary brand upholding the essence of Indian traditions and skills. The brand is currently working with more than 200 artisans, empowering them by making them a part of the urban niche sustainable fashion ecosystem. Now the brand has a clear/strong vision to bring forward the skilled clusters of the country, with knowledge of contemporary design aesthetics. The team of Peeli Dori is not only working with the local artists but also elevates their skill set by training them to create quality products by working with them on every product they create.
Bunosilo is an ethically driven, clothing company with a spirit to change the fast fashion clothing industry. Its ideals guide us to make high quality, handmade, honest clothing in India. The design, materials, processes and equipments used, make their products purposeful and durable. Each garment has an heirloom quality, with a sense of personalisation that can be handed down to the next generation. They choose to use natural materials and traditional craftsmanship with an emphasis on sourcing elements locally with fair pricing.
Let’s celebrate our heritage and this Gandhi Jayanti by making a joint pledge to support the artisans by possessing some “Khadi Masterpiece” in our wardrobes.
Until Next time XOXO!