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Khadi sales sets cash registers ringing as it is gains popularity in fashion world

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-11-16 10:00:00 – New Delhi

Fashion designers are rocking the ramp with khadi collections made from hand-woven cotton fabric. Khadi, one time was an integral part and icon of the Swadeshi movement is now trendy and has set the cash registers ringing as it catches popularity in the fashion world.

The khadi collection by Fabindia, a brand that retails handcrafted clothing and home furnishings, sells like hot cakes. Fabindia have witnessed growth in khadi business in terms of the offering as well as the customer base. In addition, the business has grown almost three times in the last five years. The market is definitely growing faster than the production capacities, said Anuradha Kumar, creative head, Women's Wear.

The classic khadi kurtas for men and women has been one of the fast sellers. Many designers have started endorsing the fabric. Designer Gaurang Shah, who showed his khadi line at the Berlin Fashion Week and the New York Fashion Week in 2012, says that people's perception towards the humble fabric has changed.

According to Shah, when he started working with weavers about 9-10 years back, they used to do simple bootis, very small border, which was not very appealing. It was those kinds of saris which 60 or 70 years old ladies used to wear. But now with the help of designers, weavers are trying new technique, designs and colours. And there is a lot of variety too.

A lot of fusion in khadi with various contemporary designs is done. People's mindset towards khadi has changed, especially when they get varieties in terms of western designs and cuts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi batting for khadi too has helped khadi gain popularity. The fabric is attracting youngsters

One can not only make anarkali, ghagras, but also gowns. From tie-and-dye to embroidery, block printing, aztec, and indigo prints -- anything is possible on khadi. It is much cheaper and longer lasting compared to other fabrics. The fabric is an alternative for georgette, chiffon and net.

Shreya Bhattacharya, deputy Manager, Handlooms & Handicrafts, National Skills Foundation of India said that with the hopes of the nation resting on the current government. Promotion of home industries like khadi shall ensure a robust economy and ensure development of the remotest corners of the country.

Khadi and village industries are the major employers in the country, with khadi exports reaching the mark of Rs.770 million (Rs 77 crore).

Other popular designers who are using handspun fabric are Wendell Rodricks, Ritu Kumar, Sabyasaachi Mukherjee, Rahul Mishra and Anand Kabra.

Rahul Mishra has showcased his khadi collection in various forms like jumpsuits, skirts, tunics and trousers. According to him, lingerie and bustiers can be easily made out of khadi fabrics; so the designs are aplenty.

Khadi is not restricted to clothing; it has found space in other sectors too, like footwear. Designer Swati Mehrotra of the brand Swati Modo makes shoes with khadi. They create textures on plain khadi-like weave. And then use in boots especially in menswear.

Khadi is eco-friendly and can offer a sustainable livelihood to a large number of weavers, according to Archana Shah, founder of Bandhej, known for using handcrafted fabric.

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