Until 12th October, luxury clothing brand, Varana, is hosting a Khadi exhibition at its flagship store on Dover Street to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi – India’s ‘father of the nation’.
Though Khadi fabric was produced and worn throughout India long before the 20th century, it was popularised by Mahatma Gandhi during India’s freedom movement and is still used for India’s national flags today. The fabric has come to symbolise freedom, resistance, self-reliance and equality, and the process works to preserve traditional handicraft, a core concept of Varana’s business.
The word Khadi originates from the Hindi word ‘khad’ and denotes a hand-weaving technique and not a material. The hand-spun and hand-woven Khadi fabric is typically made from cotton but it can also be crafted from silk, wool and other fibres.
The manufacturing process is done completely by hand, using human dexterity in lieu of mechanical and energy-intensive weaving processes with subsequent carbon emissions. Made from natural fibres, derived from natural and renewable resources, Khadi fabric is also biodegradable and will return to nature at the end of its useful life.
With this exhibition celebrating Khadi fabric, Varana aims to promote the handloom industry of India and preserve this significant symbol of traditional Indian handicraft. Protecting traditional handicraft and re-establishing its significance in the global marketplace is an essential means of conserving culture and ensuring that artisanal practices do not get lost to modern, mechanical methods.
Varana’s designs honour artisans, craft and culture whilst bridging the gap between traditional practices with the rising customer demand for garments that embody slow fashion and a substantial story behind them. The company describes its mission as follows:
“We pride ourselves on our use of master craftsmanship which we refresh with new ideas and twists on ancient techniques. We invite people to discover and delight in a world of crafts and hand work which are being left behind in a world filled with fast fashion and instant gratification.”
Visit varanaworld.com for details.
For more detail on Khadi production, read Anne Laure Camilleri's profile of Khadi & Co in Selvedge Issue 55 Treasure.