Khadi is the symbol of Indian textile heritage and is an integral part of warp and weft sections of the Indian textile industry. The father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, led a movement with Khadi to promote the use of this Indian fabric and boycott wearing of foreign clothes. After seven decades of independence, Khadi is still the pride of the nation and inspiring people across the globe. Khadi is a fabric that symbolises past as well as future. The country celebrates Khadi Day on September 19 every year.

The term “Khadi” mainly refers to a fabric that is hand-woven and handspun. Traditionally, Khadi is manufactured with cotton fibres. However, Khadi is now being manufactured with silk and wool also; known as Khadi Silk and Khadi Wool, respectively.

Though Khadi used to stand as a traditional fabric, earlier stereotyped for political leaders and rural people, leading fashion brands are now transforming it into a new form and Khadi is fast becoming a wardrobe essential for many. The fabric has a very versatile nature and is known for keeping warm in winters and cool in summers. It has coarse and rugged texture but gives a comfortable feel. It gets crumbled easily and thus to keep it firm, starch is needed. When Khadi is spun, threads are interwoven in such a manner that there is an ample amount of ventilation in the fabric. This helps in absorbing sweat and keeps the wearer dry and cool.

Leading designers and fashion brands are working on Khadi to make it more attractive and designer. A lot of apparels are being made from Khadi such as Khadi saris, salwar suits, western tops, shirts, trousers, skirts, dupatta, handkerchief, etc.

There is an Indian Government body named Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) that works for the development and promotion of Khadi in India and across the globe. This has given a boost to the Khadi manufacturing in India. A number of outlets of Khadi Gramodyog have been opened across the nation. The Khadi Gramodyog Bhavans provide a discount to the public on different Khadi products. The government also conducts various textile fairs in India and abroad to promote Khadi.

The Indian Ministry of Micro Small And Medium Enterprises (MSME) is also working extensively to promote Khadi as the “cloth of India” by holding textile fairs in foreign countries. Another way through which the government is boosting Khadi manufacturing and sales is by signing MoUs with various organisations. Recently, KVIC has signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Globus for setting up “Khadi Korner” in the Globus chain of stores. Another experiment that KVIC is going to do is Khadi Mitra, where housewives will be selling Khadi with very less capital investment initially.

Khadi has received worldwide acceptance, as it is durable, comfortable, handmade and organic in nature. Though the fabric is associated with Gandhian Philosophy, it also makes a fashion statement in itself. Khadi has truly lived its own life adding more layers to its characteristics while retaining the traditional ones.

Author's Bio: 

Mayank Mohindra is an author on apparel, fashion, and textile industry. His articles are based on latest apparel industry news, textile news and/or analysis of the dynamics of global apparel trade, and fashion industry.