Ecologically sustainable and hand spun, khadi is a leitmotif for freedom of the spirit; there was no better way to say this than with Anju Modi adding it to the lexicon of the younger generation with dhotis, and monochrome check jackets
By Asmita Aggarwal
Seventeen years ago, a young, thinking Sabyasachi Mukherjee put women on the ramp in geeky glasses and holding books instead of minaudieres, making us all feel that women were more than just curves and bosoms, and that same feeling of euphoria one got when the queen of layering Anju Modi, showcased her ‘Swadeshi’ collection on the third day of the AIFW SS’18. It had fabric/jute bags with Swadeshi and Vande Mataram embroidered as well as Lennon-esque peepers.
This time, it was an ode to khadi and AR Rahman’s booming voice singing a paean to the nation, very Gandhian in its appeal, a bit like what Gandhi ji’s two women associates Mridula Gandhi aka Manuben and Abha, known as his “walking sticks”, would wear. It is a big departure from her layered skirts and angarkhas, which this time she replaced with dhotis, draped, tied and revitalised, worn with kedia tops and juttis.
If sunshine yellow is the international colour of the season, Anju gave her own twist to it, with reverberating tones of haldi (turmeric), while check jackets were worn with kurtas and pocket squares as well as indigo and Shiboris.
“The collection was self-explanatory; I felt it’s our responsibility to take the livelihoods of weavers forward, which is why we came up with this collection. Young girls are wary of wearing saris, so, I’ve made it easier as you can now drape it over a dhoti (or wear it with a kurta) and just pleat it; you’ve learn to pleat a little. And, you can drape it in a way that you embrace the classic look, but it’s easy to walk and run in. You can even cycle in it,” she explains.
She added that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, started talking about the ‘Make in India’ revolution, it was going back to our roots. Khadi is coming from that thought process and Gandhi ji wanted each household to be self-reliant, which is why he started weaving khadi, so that we relinquish foreign-made goods. “Designers like me, are now elevating khadi through design. Today, we keep running behind everything Western; with this collection I want people to slow down, even if it’s fashion. I want them to look at remote areas, villages and think a bit about those who are invisible but contribute in our lives, meaningfully,” she concludes.