Khadi lovers in for a treat as govt pushes new khadi-denim range
New Delhi: Khadi might be a fabric linked inextricably with the Indian freedom struggle and nationalist pride but it’s far from being the fabric of choice for youngsters today. On Tuesday, in a bid to make khadi more mainstream, Union minister for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) Kalraj Mishra launched Khadi Denim Designer Wears through an exhibition-cum-sale in the capital.
But khadi-denim has been a sensation in the Indian fashion scene for some time now. Designer Rajesh Pratap Singh, known for his sharp Indian formals, came up with his first khadi denim line a little over three years ago. Bengaluru-based designer Deepika Govind has a line, as does designer Shani Himanshu. In 2014, jeans major Levi’s launched a khadi denim line too.
Designers like to tom-tom the India aspect of this creation. In an interview to The Indian Express last year, Singh said, “For us, it’s not just another fashion product. Khadi is an individualist fabric with a lot of history... we are creating a pure Indian product.”
Even before that, a small Rajkot-based outfit, Saurashtra Rachnatmak Samiti (SRS), introduced khadi denim in 2011. In an interview to The Times of India in 2011, SRS chairman Davendra Desai had said that the decreasing sale of khadi as well as the dwindling number of weavers had prompted them to give khadi a more modern twist “...and 21st century makeover by producing designer dress, shirts and denim-khadi, instead of only traditional kurta-pyjamas”.
The concept of khadi denim helped SRS catch the eye of Arvind Mills, one of the most prominent manufacturers of denim in the Indian market. SRS signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Arvind Mills, which reportedly obtains the material from other sources too, for supplying 5,000 metres of khadi denim per month.
Apart from being indigenous, khadi denim has the added advantage of being eco-friendly and hand crafted through various stages of spinning, dyeing and weaving.
India has been a manufacturing hub for garment companies, especially denim, for some time now.
The younger generation doesn’t really care about the fabric as long as the product is stylish. But what may be interesting to watch is whether the political class will start donning jeans now that it’s a khadi product.