Khaddar is a hand-spun natural fiber cloth from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, and it is mainly made out of cotton. The cloth is usually woven from cotton, but it may also include silk, or wool, which are all spun into yarn on a spinning wheel called as charkha.
Do you remember charkha? The father of our nation (India), Mahatma Gandhi used to use Charkha. Charkha, later translated into an integral element of our country’s flag. Charkha serves as a parent to Khaddar.
It is a versatile fabric, cool in summer and warm in winter. In order to improve the look, khādī/ khaddar is sometimes starched to give it a stiffer feel. It is widely accepted in fashion circles. Khadi is being promoted in India by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
What was once considered a simple fabric, Khadi, is also known as the fabric of freedom. Recently, it was given a chic and glamorous twist by designer Jewellyn Alvares and Buna by Pallavi Shantam at the ongoing Lakme Fashion Week, in Mumbai. Day 2 of the fashion gala was held at St. Regis, was dedicated to sustainable fashion. It also paid a tribute to the rich heritage of the Indian hand-woven luxury. Four designers showcased their latest fashion lines.
As the tune of “Vande Mataram” played in the show area, a collection by Alvares’s eponymous label, “Converge” had a new line in Khadi for men. It comprised a wide range of detailed asymmetric layering of trousers, tunics, pants, shirts and outwear for casual and dress occasions.
Alvares said his collection was inspired by the poem “The Lonely Winding Road” and he understood the versatility of the fabric once he started working with it.
The label Buna by Pallavi Shantam offered breezy garments in the palette of pinks, mustard, ecru, and charcoal. Shantam said: “I wanted to break the notion of Khadi being termed as ‘khaddar’... This is a versatile fabric.”
She took an inspiration from the bygone era and wanted a very vintage vibe for the line. The other two designers who showcased were Lars Anderson and the label, “The Third Floor Clothing” by Saloni Sakaria, too showcased a wonderful array of garments made of the fabric at the show, which was presented by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
New York-based designer Anderson said that he wants to bring “Khadi in the forefront”. The KVIC Chairman thanked all the designers and said: “Khadi has proved to be versatile, stylish and is a national fabric. It will become from local to global soon”.
Needless to say, Mahatma Gandhi started spinning the yarn himself and set an example, and encouraged others to do so. He made it obligatory for all members of the Indian National Congress to spin cotton themselves and to pay their dues in yarn.
His deed inspires all, and reminds everyone that sticking to roots is not just a culturally-affectionate act, but also eco-friendly and fashionable.