March 20, 2023 FDCI

Gandhi’s vision 3.0

The FDCI and KVIC show proved Khadi is the fabric of the future! Khadi is no longer stiff and just meant for the intelligentsia, now it is fine, supple and malleable bringing with it modern shapes and quirky prints, serenading a fast-moving GenZ.

By Asmita Aggarwal

If you look back even a decade ago, you would never envision khadi bustiers, boleros, bombers, dresses with Victorian collars and hand smocking, accessorized with Kolhapuris to boots, but the credit for this revolution goes to Shri Manoj Kumar, the Chairman of the intrepid KVIC and its advisor, Sunil Sethi. Thus, with the charkhas spinning on the runway, live music where traditional met the contemporary in tunes that mirrored in the collection as well, Khadi India, Divyam Mehta, Suket Dhir, and Shruti Sancheti showcased a line for FDCIXLFW taking the POV of the Gen Z and what they would like to wear.

Founded on the principle of promoting Khadi, KVIC set up Co-Ek (Centre of Excellence for Khadi) with its hub at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi. Its efforts have borne fruit with the influx of good designs, after all khadi is the mother of all weaves. Weaving provides not only employment, but engages the entire family, holistically. “We are empowering them with work, and trying to break the stereotype that khadi is coarse, even the PM Narendra Modi is endorsing this fabric and in some offices it is mandatory to have uniforms which will further promote its usage,” says Nargis Zaidi , who is behind the collection at Khadi India.

She introduced it to the future generation, her two teenage kids who further were appreciated by peers, creating an eco-system to organically motivate youngsters to choose it over the fast fashion brands. This initiative started by launching a Western wear line in khadi with a show at NIFT Delhi where students modelled the ensembles. “We also encourage them to work in clusters of Kutch to Kanpur exposing them to the processes involved,” explains Nargis.

The Khadi India collection presented saris with Daboo prints, natural dyes, keeping it conservative, yet modern in its appeal with Kedia blouses, crinkled petticoats. The khadi was sourced from Swaraj Ashram which produces raw khadi, while Chandrakanta Lalit Mohan Resham Khadi Samity in Musheerabad offers the finest variety of Muslin, lastly the wool is from Bikaner, Eri from Assam. Khadi India is now developing an interesting range in Jamdanis to take khadi one more step forward.

Removing the “jhola” tag of “I will look too old in this”, Divyam Mehta besides getting the artsy Vijay Varma as his muse introduced ivory pants suits to draped dhotis with natty jackets. In this very Japanese inspired line with tie ups and wrap techniques used ingeniously, it exuded unsaid stability. “Kacho” or raw the name of the collection, used rural Rabari wall patterns and combined them with dots using geometry, elevated with Kantha stitches.

The fashion show also saw the erstwhile International Woolmark Prize winner Suket Dhir bring in his quirky take on the animal kingdom. Whether it was the hornbill relaxing with a cigar, black buck and leopard in a helmet, each motif made you smile and also admire his sense of humour. The icy blues, muddy browns, purist white dhotis, double collared jackets, from the “Spring Forest” line was a pleasant revelation on how you can make even a tangerine pants suit perfect for an island vacation. “In fact people after the show asked me if all this was actually made in Khadi,” he smiles.

Even though Shruti Sancheti, Khadi’s line is titled “Khadder” her treatment is vastly different from this moniker which is associated with a certain roughness. Shruti worked with silk Khadi woven in Vidarbha, and it was clear it had to be super new in its rendition. Actress and her showstopper Rakul Preet, an embodiment of what the youth is looking for, channeled this sentiment in a bustier, long tunic and shorts that came with a detachable palazzo. The traditional hand block printing, and mokaish, placement embroideries, high waisted roomy trousers usher in a rush of sparkle and gave consumers the option of mix and match.


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