With today being Indian Independence Day we take a look back into our archives... Khadi is a hand spun and hand woven fabric. Made and worn in rural homes, khadi became the symbol of India’s freedom struggle; and in Gandhi’s own words, “the spirit” of Swadeshi, a movement promoting Indian goods he started in 1918. Gandhi announced the Non-Cooperation Movement on 15th August 1920, a nonviolent resistance to British rule that called for the boycott of all foreign products, including foreign clothes. He urged every household, rich or poor, in rural and urban communities to start spinning and weaving their own cloth at home. He set the example, wearing only khadi and spinning yarn on his charkha (spinning wheel). By choosing the humble white khadi over imported garments, Gandhi sent a strong political, social and cultural message to the people. On the path leading towards Swaraj (Self Rule) khadi symbolized, among many ideas, self-employment, self-reliance, political independence, national unity and ultimately, freedom.
When she founded Khadi and Co in 2004, Danish designer Bess Nielsen wished to convey the true spirit of khadi, and promote the remarkable skills of Indian weavers. She first traveled to India in 1976, when she was working as a freelance stylist in the fashion industry. She felt at home immediately, fascinated by a culture where textiles played a vital role in everyday life. She met with textile artisans, weavers and embroiderers, and discovered khadi. Khadi and Co is Bess’s personal project. “I’m deeply moved by Gandhi’s message. Hand spinning has become such a rare thing. The philosophy of khadi is still on people’s minds, but more like a sporadic need to go back to the basics of the Freedom Movement.”... Read the rest of Anne Laure Camilleri's article in the Treasure issue of Selvedge.
To shop Selvedge's range of Khadi & Co go visit us online or in-store.