Designers

We have been lucky to find inspiring designers to work with. Understanding their needs and finding the right fabric, weave and design for them has been a learning experience. Their love for khadi, for its feel, texture, graininess and breathability has inspired us to carry on. The bond of a common ethics and view of clothing has helped us to continue working with them. We adopted a strategy to work closely with a few clients and use the experience to build our knowledge and find the right suppliers. The strategy has worked – we are now in a position from where we can grow – add a few more customers.

Below we present designers and brands who have been attracted by khadi. Over the weeks and months to come we will be more adding profiles.

Resources for Designers

Are you interested in working with khadi and other ethical fabrics?

Keep a look out for new posts in our blog series KNOW YOUR FABRIC

John Alexander Skelton

John's fashion journey started at the age of seventeen when he was working at a luxury clothing shop in his home town, York. He went on to study art and fashion, earning the prestigious L'Oreal Prize in 2014 when he was an MA student at Central Saint Martins.

Khadi is an integral part of John's work as a designer. It is especially prominent in Collection II, showcased in Autumn 2016. John used the context of 19th Century textile mill towns of Lancashire and the Industrial Revolution as his starting points.

John went on to explore the relationship of these towns with the outside world, especially India and Gandhi's hand spun and hand woven clothing. John believes in designs that re-envision tradition and clothing that lasts, ideals that Gandhi would have been proud of.

John is "passionate about preserving British manufacturing and the skills of our nation's artisans - not as an archaic act of patriotism but out of deeply invested interest in ethical production and crop-to-catwalk sustainability". (Osman Ahmed/AnOther)

Photo: Timo Wirsching/AnOther

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HENRI

Educated at the London School of Fashion and with a background in pattern cutting, Henrietta's "aesthetic is merged with the technical knowledge of creating a great fit and feel in garment".

With a control over the whole process - from concept and pattern cutting to design - she can create exactly what she has in mind. The design process evolves in a fluid and organic manner.

Henrietta's collections include women's shirts made from organic khadi and organic handwoven cotton. Customer's have been attracted by their soft and airy feel.

Three guiding principles inform Henrietta's business; a commitment to sourcing organic materials, supporting skilled workers in London, and, minimum waste. She has a knack for forging partnerships with other small ethical businesses.

Photo: Henrietta Adams

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Project PICO

Phoebe and Isobel grew up in Dorset and went to school together. After finishing school they came to London for University. Phoebe read history at Goldsmiths University with a focus on social and cultural history. Isobel did a degree in tailoring at the London College of Fashion.

After a few years of working for others they embarked on their own business journey to 'grow the ideas and passion'. Last year they went on tour of India to get a first hand experience of the supply chain for the first collection of organic, fairly traded men's and women's underwear.

Along the way they also got a glimpse of how Gandhi's ideas have evolved over the decades. Their journey started with a ten day workshop on "Gandhi, Globalisation and Gross National Happiness. In the middle of their long, grueling 'source' journey they took time of to visit several khadi workshops.

They were impressed by what they saw at Gopuri khadi unit, "a space dedicated to developing, innovating and salvaging of village scale machines that will allow communities to produce hand-woven cotton, from seed to cloth". Gandhi and Khadi are now an important part of their world view.

Photo: Alberto Balaz

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Where Does It Come from?

Jo has a passion for ethics in clothing. She searched far and wide - to get the right product -before starting her business three years ago. Khadi ticked all the boxes.

Her Indian partner, MORALFIBREFabrics work with an integrated supply chain in western India. From seed and cotton to spinning, weaving, printing and garment manufacture - almost all of it all happens within a radius of a hundred miles.

Jo wasn't disappointed when she visited India to create her first collection, a collection of stoles and children's clothing. The cotton comes from farmers who have set up their own certification system, the textile is hand spun and hand woven in a khadi cooperative. Printing and garment manufacture easily meet her high standards.

Jo's collection has grown. She sells online and through selected retail outlets. Her clothes have a unique feature - they come with a code that you can use on her website to trace where they came from.

Photo: Where Does It Come From?

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Ecosophy

Established in 2016 by Kate Anderson, Ecosophy is a sustainable home textiles specialising in organic fibres, natural dyes and artisanal techniques. Kate founded Ecosophy after she discovered there were hardly any places in the UK selling sustainable and high-quality home furnishings.

To bring such products to the market, she set off on a journey that took her through India, Bangladesh and SE Asia, meeting with farmers and artisanal groups who were pioneering sustainable forms of textile production. Partnerships with these groups soon followed and Ecosophy was offically born.

Kate has post-graduate degrees in anthropology and development. She has a keen interest in how organic production can contribute to sustainable livelihoods in rural India. Her designs are inspired by natural textures and patterns and celebrate the beauty that evolves from interplay of human creativity and natural processes.

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Ren London

Ren is a designer and maker with a passion for natural fibre textiles that are responsibly sourced and gentle on the environment. A granddaughter of a long time flax mill worker, you could say that fabric is in her blood.

Ren has a BA in Film Studies and revels in visual story telling, which she now does through her work in textiles.

She first set out to create a range of hand printed linen homewares and over a couple of years grew her offering to include sustainably made womenswear. There is a handmade, human quality to everything that is produced by the brand.

Discovering khadi corresponded very closely with the values and aesthetic of Ren's brand and is now an integral part of her business. She is using khadi in clothing production and is working on integrating the fabric into her home furnishings range as well.

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Freeweaver Saori Studio

Erna Janine has been running the Freeweaver Saori Studio in London since 2017. Saori is a Japanese approach to hand weaving that encourages weavers to create individual pieces of cloth on simple floor looms. After spending nearly two decades in Iceland practising and studying traditional handicrafts, Dutch born Erna Janine found herself in Japan to study Saori weaving and now runs London's first Saori Studio, as an official Saori instructor and dealer.

Noticing how difficult it is to find traceable natural yarns, she did a 6 weeks textile artist residency in Odisha in India recently to explore the healthy alternatives to commonly used fibres such as silk and cotton, and that's where khadi came into the picture. The natural process of weaving on hand made looms draws people into using more ethical yarns particularly because the "hand of the spinner" remains visible in the hand woven cloth. At Freeweaver Saori Studio, people can use floor looms to make simple garments of art pieces from recycled and natural yarns. Erna Janine also produces a small range of hand woven apparel.

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Debbi Little

Debbi was way ahead of her time ten years ago when she began upcycling old parachutes sourced from the armed forces and ran a popup shop in Greenwich. Back then, upcycling and popup shops weren't the buzz words they are now.

Debbi uses her creative kindness for turning "something with horrible connotations of war into something beautiful" Inspired by the make-do-and-mend war years, "Debbi applies her own DIY punk ethic, and former training at Cerruti and Zandra Rhodes, to the task of creating the lightest, most fantastic of frocks". (Tamsin Blanchard - in Green is the New Black: How to Change the World with Style)

Debbi started using khadi for her collection about two years ago. She transformed a traditional Rajasthani print design into a pattern that was just right for modern kimonos. A few tweaks with the colour pallet and spacing of the prints did the trick. The fabric was hand spun, hand woven and hand block printed in India. Debbi is planning to do her own block printing in London for a new collection of organic khadi kimonos.

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