At Khadi London we specialise in providing customised services to ethical fashion designers, and small to medium sized ethical fashion and home businesses – while at the same time promoting Khadi globally. We work with customers to understand their needs and help them source the best options from a range of fabric suppliers actively involved in social change activities.

Our mission is to go beyond sustainability. Incorporated as a Community Interest Company (Khadi CIC), a minimum of one third of our social enterprise’s profits are earmarked for community development activities.

We work closely with suppliers to build capacity, improve standards and designs, enhance efficiency and adopt better business practices.

We also believe in the principle of fair trade. The Indian government currently regulates the production of khadi to ensure that spinners and weavers are paid fairly. Our goal at Khadi London is to extend this principle to farmers, farm workers, tailors and other artisans in the supply chain.

Democratic: done by people through profit-sharing.

Diverse: not only focusing on cotton but also working with other fibres and bespoke fabrics.

Decentralised: offering value addition at source.

Image Credit: Medha Shah
Democratic: done by people through profit-sharing.

Diverse: not only focusing on cotton but also working with other fibres and bespoke fabrics.

Decentralised: offering value addition at source.

At Khadi London we specialise in providing customised services to ethical fashion designers, and small to medium sized ethical fashion and home businesses – while at the same time promoting Khadi globally. We work with customers to understand their needs and help them source the best options from a range of fabric suppliers actively involved in social change activities.

Our mission is to go beyond sustainability. Incorporated as a Community Interest Company (Khadi CIC), a minimum of one third of our social enterprise’s profits are earmarked for community development activities.

We work closely with suppliers to build capacity, improve standards and designs, enhance efficiency and adopt better business practices.

We also believe in the principle of fair trade. The Indian government currently regulates the production of khadi to ensure that spinners and weavers are paid fairly. Our goal at Khadi London is to extend this principle to farmers, farm workers, tailors and other artisans in the supply chain.

Image Credit: Medha Shah

What Is Khadi?

Khadi is primarily made from cotton. Cotton balls are harvested from fields by mainly women (who account for 90% of the handpicking of cotton). Once the ball shells are removed the fibers that remain are carded into slivers ready for spinning.
Slivers are thinned out and twisted into yarn using spinning wheels. The traditional Indian ‘charkha’ (pictured above) has now been largely replaced by ring-framed multi spindle spinning wheels – many of which are solar powered. Spun yarn is then prepared for dying, often using natural dyes.  
Image Credit (top right): Aaron Sinift
Image Credit (rest): Henri London
Yarn is woven into fabric using a handloom – a simple and traditional weaving process using no electricity. The woven fabric is now ready to be stitched into a garment.
Khadi is primarily made from cotton. Cotton balls are harvested from fields by mainly women (who account for 90% of the handpicking of cotton). Once the ball shells are removed the fibers that remain are carded into slivers ready for spinning.
Slivers are thinned out and twisted into yarn using spinning wheels. The traditional Indian ‘charkha’ (pictured above) has now been largely replaced by ring-framed multi spindle spinning wheels – many of which are solar powered. Spun yarn is then prepared for dying, often using natural dyes.  
Yarn is woven into fabric using a handloom – a simple and traditional weaving process using no electricity. The woven fabric is now ready to be stitched into a garment.
Image Credit (top right): Aaron Sinift
Image Credit (rest): Henri London
Khadi is an ideal choice for green and ethical clothing, but it is more than just a fabric – Khadi embodies the spirit of freedom, simplicity and peace. In an ideal setting, the process of making khadi, from seed to fabric, takes place within the village where the plant is grown.

Made from cotton, silk, wool and other natural fibres, these fabrics have been famous throughout the world since ancient times. Khadi comes in a wide range of weaves, texture and thickness – from linen like coarse khadi to highly-refined muslin. The fabric is versatile, it can be used for a variety of products, from clothing, bed linen and soft furnishings to costumes for cinema and theatre.

The tradition of weaving cloth by hand was being lost to machine made fabric when Gandhi revived it as a symbol of peace, autonomy and simplicity. It also became an effective vehicle for community action. Khadi helped fashion a new nationalistic identity, an identity which denied colonial imposition and defied traditional hierarchy.

Today the production of khadi provides sustenance to about a million people in India. About 80% of khadi artisans are women, often from some of the poorest communities in the country. With a more efficient technology and better regulation in place, incomes for artisans have improved over the past few years.

To learn more about khadi read our post: ‘New Look at Khadi, the Original Ethical Cloth’.

The entire process of making khadi:

Produces 91% less emissions than machine made fabric.

Saves 3.24x more energy than milling cloth.

Uses 20% less water than conventional techniques.

The ‘khadi way’ can contribute to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

No 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

No 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

No 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, particularly for women.

No 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

No 13: Take action relevant to combating climate change and its impacts

The entire process of making khadi:

Produces 91% less emissions than machine made fabric.

Saves 3.24x more energy than milling cloth.

Uses 20% less water than conventional techniques.

The ‘khadi way’ can contribute to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

For us at Khadi London, khadi is not just a fabric – it’s a movement. And many of the designers, consumers and activists drawn towards khadi share our firm belief in positive change. We are all driven by ethical, social and environmental concerns. Are you one of us? Do you have some spare time or other resources to help us progress?

Here are some ways you can help us:

  • Use khadi fabric, clothing and other products.
  • Spread the word.
  • Email/tweet our website link to as many friends as possible, help us build our list of friends on Facebook, put a message on every social media site you are a member of.
  • Volunteer. You can help us generate design and product ideas, organise an event, help improve our presence on social media, marketing and sales, or set up a stall at a festival.
  • Get a Work Experience. Contact us and we can explore areas where our interests meet. We might be able to offer you a Work Experience opportunity. We are also looking for Commission Agents and Distributors in London and elsewhere in the UK. Please contact us if you are interested.

Image Credit: © Gallica Digital Library, Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The Khadi Initiative is a collective of like-minded organisations, individuals and businesses joining forces to raise awareness and promote natural fibres as an alternative to the growing menace of plastics in our textiles and clothing. Our aim is to define social change through fashion and textiles – we believe that fashion can be both a force for good and a vehicle for change. Our events have succeeded in bringing together people from different parts of UK and from around the globe to learn, share, discuss, find solutions and connect.

Stay informed about future Khadi Initiative plans.

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Founding Organisations:
Khadi CIC – MoralFibre – Where Does It Come From? – Action Village India – Fresh Eyes.

Who Are We?

Laurence G Sewell

Khadi London Non-Executive Chair

Laurence has over 45 years’ experience working for the donor community, public organisations and the private sector in Africa, Asia, Near East and Central and Eastern Europe. He has specialised in monitoring, evaluation & learning (MEL); institutional management for reforming organisations; and has a technical background in natural resource planning. He has a particular interest in the role of business in supporting pro-poor development. Laurence is a principal associate of IPE Triple Line Ltd., and a trustee for a number of charity organisations.

Ivan Nutbrown

Khadi London Non-Executive Board Member

Ivan has a close connection with people in India ever since his first stay in India 50 years ago. Many of the people he got to know on that first stay were followers of Gandhi and enabled him to see Gandhi’s Constructive Programme and non-violent approach in action.

Ivan is a founder member of the UK charity, Action Village India and played a lead role in its development till his retirement. All of Action Village India’s partners in India are inspired by Gandhi and for whom khadi continues to hold a symbolic value.

Jo Salter

Khadi London Non-Executive Board Member

Jo Salter is founder of award winning ethical clothing brand Where Does It Come From? and a speaker, writer and consultant on sustainable business.  She is an experienced ethical business entrepreneur and passionate about transparency and justice within product supply chains.  Jo regularly campaigns for a fairer and more eco-friendly clothing industry and supports brands to embed their values into the way they source their products.

Kishore Shah

Khadi London Co-Founder and Director

Kishore first discovered khadi fifty years ago when he went to India and volunteered with the Sarvodaya movement – a land reform movement which had evolved into a movement for village autonomy. Khadi was an integral part Sarvodaya. Kishore’s later work as an international development consultant has been guided by his experience as a Sarvodaya volunteer. He co-founded Khadi London about five years ago.

Elizabeth Ings

Our resident event curator/manager who helped organise A Way Ahead: Ethical Khadi, then working with founding partner Jo Salter of Where Does it Come From? and friend of Khadi London, Sian Conway of Ethical Hour helped bring about the first two Ethical Brands for Fashion Revolution shopping, learning and networking events and the first Be The Change Awards in 2019. Next project: Festival of Natural Fibres, November 2019.

Asha Buch

Asha grew up in a family of activist supporting India’s freedom movement under the guidance of Gandhi. She learnt to spin cotton at the age of about seven or eight, a skill that she has honed over the years and enjoys passing it on. Her skills as a teacher and spinner are inspiring a small but growing number of charkha (spinning wheel) enthusiast in London. Her presence in Khadi Initiative events helps ground conversations about ethics in textiles and fashion.

Molshree Vaid

Molshree is a freelance consultant, researcher and writer, working at the intersection of fashion, sustainability and technology. An alum from London College of Fashion, she has worked for CNBC, Brooks Brothers and Timberland in India in the past. At Khadi London, Molshree is involved in marketing strategy and business development.

Swapnaja Dalvi

Swapnaja is an Instrumentation Engineer and worked in oil & gas industry for around a decade in UK. She took a career break to India with her family to understand & work on the issue of farmer suicides. During her stay there, she was impressed by decentralised process of making cloth where the cotton is grown. She plans to return to India to practice organic farming, live a natural sustainable lifestyle and support the cause of khadi.