Khadi, a fabric historically championed as the swadeshi fabric is back in the spotlight as home-grown design and slow fashion gain prominence
Designer Raghavendra Rathore, multi-designer platform Ikkivi and brands like Tulsi, Metapho Racha and Buna Studio are weaving Khadi’s contemporary story
What is the latest update on Khadi, a fabric historically championed as the swadeshi fabric? It’s a trifecta of sustainable, simple and slow fashion. While brands such as Fabindia and Jaypore offer affordable designs in Khadi, others, like Good Earth, péro and Akaaro, cater to a premium clientele. Among Indian couturiers, Sabyasachi Mukherjee dressed Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Khadi for movies like Guzaarish and Raavan, and now fashions bridal lehngas from the cotton fabric. In February, the “Khadi Goes Global" event in Delhi saw top designers, including Rohit Bal and Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, showcasing Khadi designs. As home-grown design and slow fashion gain prominence, how do modern wardrobes embrace the humble fabric in its understated elegance? Here are five brands weaving Khadi’s contemporary story.
Designer Raghavendra Rathore is best known for making the bandhgala covetable, but his recent menswear collection is a nod to sustainability. Crafted from Khadi, the shirts, kurtas and waistcoats are subtly embellished with tonal dori handwork and tailored with the brand’s sartorial stamp—inspired by Jodhpur’s heritage with a modern twist.Available at Raghavendra Rathore stores across India; price on request
Entrepreneur Ravi Kiran founded Metaphor Racha in 2011, with a focus on Khadi. He works with artisans who spin on ambar charkhas. “We are driven by two objectives—how to cut a garment with less wastage and how it can be worn in multiple ways while extending its longevity," he says. The proof lies in the hand-dyed collections of blouses, dresses and saris. For Kiran and his team, design is about “solving a problem", a sensibility that has appealed to the brand’s loyal buyers for a decade.
Available at Metaphorracha.com; ₹5,000 onwards
Multi-vendor platform Ikkivi puts the spotlight on slow fashion, including a number of brands that work with handwoven textiles. Khadi enthusiasts will find new updates on the fabric, with pleated culottes, knotted crop tops, dresses and effortlessly stylish sari-trouser sets. Choose from emerging home-grown brands like Mishé, Sillage and Mati that extensively use Khadi as well as linen and jute for their creations. Available at Ikkivi.com;
The brand has worked on Khadi since the early 1990s to develop it as a contemporary fabric for menswear and womenswear in fusion silhouettes. “For our collections, the weight of Khadi ranges from the fine 100s to the coarser 20s and 30s count, making it suitable for seasonal requirements," says creative director Sakshi Kumar. Available at Tulsionline.in; ₹3,500 onwards
“Our process involves pre-washing Khadi for a soft and fluid feel. We also work with raw and unbleached mulmul Khadi. These are then tailored into relaxed and contemporary garments," says Pallavi Shantam, founder of Buna Studio. Her current collection, titled Time Whisperer, captures the nostalgia of handwritten notes and laid-back afternoons. It is bohemian in spirit and quintessentially feminine, with dresses, tops and trousers in a palette of dusty pinks, charcoal and ecru.Available at Bunastudio.com; ₹4,800 onwards