Last October, at the spring/summer 2012 Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, the designer James Ferreira's ephemeral collection was made from khadi fabric, woven in bright hues, with modern cuts. Speaking after the show, Ferreira said: "Khadi is the most beautiful fabric in India and I wanted to bring it back. I simply printed chiffon and georgette with it to give it a new life." This simple, austere fabric that was handspun by Mahatma Gandhi on his charka (spinning wheel) seems to be enjoying a renaissance in India today. Traditionally the attire of ageing Gandhians and politicians, khadi now has taken on a hip, new avatar, thanks in part to the many young designers who are giving this fabric a new spin (pun intended). Some designers question whether this freedom fabric is redundant in free India. It was promoted by Gandhi originally as a protest against the importation of mass-produced textiles from British mills. Hasn't khadi served its purpose in driving out the British? "Everyone is carried away by the romance of khadi but … it is a symbol that is no longer relevant. In today's economic reality, it is a glorification of poverty," says David Abraham, of the designer duo Abraham & Thakore. Abraham recommends repositioning khadi as an "exclusive product for a discerning few who are willing to pay the price for it". Some years ago, the duo sold hundreds of khadi throws at The Conran Shop, each priced at £100 (Dh576).
Image source: www.bharattextile.com