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Khadi: The Fabric Originating From The Roots Of India

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Khadi: The Fabric Originating From The Roots Of India

"We cannot claim to have understood the meaning of swaraj until khadi becomes as universal as currency."- Mahatma Gandhi

'Khadi' the word reminds us of the freedom struggle, it brings the image of Charkha and Mahatma Gandhi to our minds. 'Khadi' is not just some random fabric, it played a major role in India's independence, and today it's making it grand by setting the latest fashion trends along with promoting sustainable fashion. This blog contains all the information you need to know about 'Khadi', India's signature fabric.

India's signature fabric

How is 'Khadi' the native fabric of India made?

The fabric holds a long history in parts of Bangladesh and some parts of our neighboring country Pakistan as well. Khadi is mainly hand-spun and hand-woven in cotton, but it can also be woven in silk and wool, the fabric promotes sustainable fashion and is versatile, it can be blended with any fibers. The fabric is made out of cotton, and here is the procedure, from cotton to Khadi-

  1. FARMING- The cotton balls are handpicked from the fields directly.

  2. CLEANING- The separation of fibers from cotton seeds is done by hand using a sharp comb, also locally known as fish jaws. This helps in providing superfine finish and grace to the fabric.

  3. CARDING- 'Carding', the process is all about removing the final traces of trash from fibers and the carded material is then collected as 'Silvers'.

  4. SPINNING- After carding, the silvers are then spun into yarn on a spinning wheel also known as Charkha, where they are thinned out and twisted at the same time to strengthen it.

  5. REELING- The spun yarns are then wounded into reels making it easy to transport to the weavers.

  6. WEAVING- The reels are then handwoven into fabric by skilled artisans.

  7. DYEING- The fabric made is sent to skilled laborers for dyeing, done with organic vegetable dyes to avoid as much use of chemicals as possible, keeping the process natural and pollution-free throughout.

  8. LAST STEP- The finished fabric is now ready to be sold or made into garments by retailers and designers.

History of the fabric

History of the fabric- Khadi

"If we have the 'Khadi spirit' in us, we would surround ourselves with simplicity in every walk of life." - Mahatma Gandhi

Khadi got its importance from Mahatma Gandhi when he revived the 5000-year-old practice of hand-weaving as a part of his movement of freedom fighters in the 1920s, and nearly after seven decades of freedom Khadi continues to amaze people around the globe, promoting sustainable fashion and setting some latest fashion trends.

The word Khadi is derived from 'Khaddar', a term used for handspun fabric in India. Hand spinning has been known to Indians for thousands of years but Gandhi revived India's flagging Khadi industry, he made the fabric the symbol of all things swadeshi. He encouraged people across the country to boycott British made cloth, spin their yarn and wear Khadi.

Over the decade's fabric has moved from freedom fighter's identity fabric to a fashion garment-creating some latest fashion trends.

Properties of Khadi

Khadi is more than a fabric, it is a way of life, it represents the struggle for independence. The fabric is cool, comfortable, truly environment-friendly for every season type and is well celebrated for its rugged texture. The properties that make it stand out of the box are-

-It provides with certain kind of coolness in summers and warmth in chilly winters.

-Khadi is one such fabric that the more you wash it, the better it looks and feels on the skin.

-The texture of the fabric is so unique that no two fabrics will be identical, which further leaves it inimitable and exclusive in terms of feel and texture.

-The fabric is approximately 3.24 times energy efficient than mill cloth.

Khadi from Gandhi

Khadi from Gandhi to couture

In 1925, All India Spinners Association was established to produce and sell Khadi, the organizations worked day and night intending to improve Khadi production techniques and provide employment to India's improvised weavers.

The Indian government after independence established the All India Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in 1957. Ever since then KVIC has been making an effort to develop the Khadi industry in India.

By the early 90s, Khadi entered the world of fashion and started making a fashion statement. In 1989, KVIC organized the first Khadi fashion show in Mumbai, where around 80 styles of Khadi wear were showcased. The prestigious designer of the Indian fashion industry, Ritu Beri presented her first Khadi collection at Delhi's craft museum, and now Khadi is making a global appearance.

With the coming of 21st century Khadi received a higher level of attention from the designers, they started exploring with this versatile fabric and made sure that the native fabric remains in vogue. From the desi- jholawala writer/artists and every other politician to a good for all eco fabric and bridal wear, designers have successfully experimented with the fabric in all of the above ways.

The biggest name of India fashion industry like Sabyasachi, late Wendell Rodrick, Rajesh Pratap Singh, and others have opted for the fashion challenge to reinvent the humble fabric into high fashion wear. From the days of Gandhi to now the significance of Khadi is still high and in today's time the fabric is well defining 'haute couture".

Types of Khadi available

There are several varieties of Khadi fabric available in the market, if divided based on the material which has been woven, the three main types are-

1.Khadi Cotton Fabric- This fabric is generally made from pure cotton yarns. Khadi cotton also has multiple variations according to the demand of clothing and fashion industry, like "Textile Khadi Cotton", "Handloom Khadi Cotton".

  1. Khadi Silk Fabric- This fabric has two subtypes of fabric, The first is pure Khadi silk which says the fabric is woven from completely silk yarns, the second type includes blending of several yarns. Khadi Silk with a mixture of other yarns produces varieties like- Matka Khadi Silk, Tussar Khadi Silk, Printed Khadi Silk, and Pattu Khadi Silk.

  2. Woolen Khadi Fabric- Under this category Khadi is being woven from wool.

  3. Pondura Khadi- It is rarely available in today's market, it is mainly produced in the Southern region of India. All these are specially produced to make Khadi sarees.

The Indian market has now options of designer Khadi sarees and georgette Khadi sarees which are well appreciated by the buyers, but abroad the demand for pure Khadi cotton fabric still tops the priorities.

fashion news

"Khadi" market, price and employment!

Designer Rahul Mishra created a Khadi exclusive Spring/Summer 2013 collection and what he has to say about it was, "We must ensure that a part of the revenue from Khadi is diverted to weavers to keep its Gandhian logic alive. So the percentage use of Khadi in designer collections must drastically increase."

Designers look forward to changing Khadi's image from boring to chic, promoting khadi's organic nature, it's been taking the e-commerce route, partnering with various brands, creating new products and designs like trousers, types of denim, and T-shirts for building some youth market for the fabric.

The production of Khadi employs thousands of rural skilled artisans, 70% of them are women. It is a vital source of income for the rural poor.

The new age Khadi products in India cannot be called out cheap, for example, dyed raw Khadi silk fabric costs more than Rs800 per metre, but wearing Khadi is not just about being fashionable and trendy but it's more of having a conscience and promoting sustainable fashion. As long as people are aware of the environment, Khadi will always hold a strong market and price won't be a factor.

Pros and Cons

Advantages of Khadi

-It is woven in a way that it allows the skin better breathability.

-It is durable and a piece of high-quality fabric.

-It is eco-friendly and biodegradable.

-It gives rural people a better lifestyle.

-It can be worn in summer, winter, and monsoon.

Disadvantages of Khadi

-The material of the fabric is very coarse.

-On a certain level creates itchiness on the skin.

-It shrinks readily.

-It can be a little expensive.

latest fashion news

Khadi versus Polyester

Khadi and Polyester both are phenomenal fabrics but if you had to choose between one of them here are the details you need to clear your head to decide which to take.

Suitable for all-weather Not suitable for all-weather
Breathable. Non-breathable.
It is a natural fiber It is a synthetic fiber





Rough surface Comparatively smoother surface


fashion news today

Styling tips with Khadi

Khadi earlier was considered to be celebrated only by millennials, but thanks to the brilliant designers of the Indian fashion industry, that they made the youth also fall for the gorgeous fabric, and increased its authenticity globally. Khadi holds ravishing properties which makes it favorable for all season, here are some of the different ways to adorn the fabric this summer-

  1. Georgette Khadi saree can work pretty well for summer dates.

  2. One can never go wrong with a plain khadi kurta, pants along with Kohlapuri chappals.

  3. A khadi scarf can give your outfit a completely different new look.

  4. Khadi pants are something that will make your appearance class yet chic.

Click on the link, and you'll get a brief about all the looks you can make out of this native fabric.  Go Khadi this summer 2020.

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