Five organisations have come together to form the Khadi Initiative. Their collective mission is to encourage the use of khadi fabric in fashion and textile industries. And to offer alternatives to currently unsustainable and largely unethical production methods.
Khadi, the unique traditional fabric of India has a beautiful texture and feel. It also has a profound social history and culture that binds together Gandhi’s legacy, India’s freedom movement, empowerment of communities around the world, and today’s growing commitment to ethical fashion.
This important versatile fabric combines cotton, silk and wool in various mixes to create a range of natural fabrics that can vary in softness. It has enormous potential for up-scaling from small grassroots groups that are increasingly using organic farming and solar energy. The UK spends £50 billion a year in disposable fashion and accessories. Over 90% of it ends up in landfill. Khadi is the long lasting solution that doesn’t release micro-plastic particles in the wash and naturally adapts to the wearer’s body temperature.
Khadi was a key asset to India’s nonviolent freedom struggle where Indians boycotted British and French goods. In pre-independent India British and French fabrics dominated the market. These products were low quality, over priced and factory produced. Mahatma Gandhi encouraged Indian artisans to bring khadi back to life and start producing exciting and high quality fabrics. Khadi played a key role in ensuring the success of the boycott and in India’s economic and political regeneration.
The power of this movement was so great that still today the official Indian official flag is made from khadi. The chakra symbol in the centre of the flag is based on the wheel used to spin cotton by hand.
In November 2017, London’s Fashion and Textile Museum was host to over one hundred exited people from all walks of life – including designers, producers, brands and charities. Five sustainable organisations, Khadi CIC, Moral Fibre Fabrics, Where Does It Come From?, Action Village India and Fresh Eyes: People to People Travel – joined forces to present Khadi Initiative’s event – A Way Ahead: Ethical Khadi. The event brought everyone together to collectively explore an important issue: how can we make more sustainable and ethical through the use of khadi and other ethical textiles.
The event generated a sense of movement – heightened by a collaborative creation of a ‘Khadi Patchwork of Dreams’ Attendees wrote their dreams for khadi upon khadi patchwork squares, before pinning them to create a large patchwork. This beautiful piece of khadi art symbolises the collective effort, energy and enthusiasm of speakers and attendees at the event. Their ‘Khadi Dreams’ marks the beginning of a movement and contribute towards the future aims of the Khadi Initiative.
Khadi Initiative is here to help the movement grow. A movement that has grown through collaboration and exists to unite others who want to bring about generation defining social change through fashion and textiles.
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Get active: Spread the word about khadi. Our event AWA:EK A Way Ahead: Ethical Khadi on 24th November 2017 at the London Fashion and Textiles museum was a great success, however the more conversations that happen about khadi and sustainable fashion, the better. Head over to Instagram to see and be part of the story of khadi; join our community on Facebook or spare a tweet for khadi.
Get informed: find out more about khadi by watching these beautiful Susanta Biswas documentaries available online for free.
Khadi fabric suppliers:
Khadi CIC brings khadi fabric collections to London’s fashion scene from suppliers across India who are actively involved in social change activities. Production of khadi in India is regulated to ensure fair wages for spinners and weavers. As a community interest company, Khadi CIC aims to extend the principle of fairness to cotton farmers, tailors and customers. It has also made a commitment to spend at least a third of it’s profits for community development activities. http://www.khadi.london/
MORALFIBRE develops environmentally friendly fabrics and clothing. Hand-spinning and hand-weaving techniques improve the socio-economically sustainability of fabric production, as well as minimizing carbon emissions, water wastage and pollution. In addition, their products are entirely biodegradable and are made without child or sweatshop labour. Their range includes 100% cotton, silk, wool as well as fabric blends.
Khadi clothing stockists:
Founded by Jo Salter in 2013, Where Does It Come From is a fashion retailer with ethical clothing at its core, that tells the story of each item that is sells. Concerned about poor labour conditions in clothing factories across the world, Salter developed a simple way to show the ethical considerations interwoven into the final product. Each piece of clothing has a code written on the tag, which can be copied into their website. This then details the lifecycle of the individual clothing item. Where Does It Come From has been recognized for its work in ethical clothing by several international organizations, and was a finalist in the Global Impact category of the Blue Patch awards 2017.
Advocates for Khadi:
Action Village India is a UK-based charity working for change in rural India for 28 years. India’s rapid economic development has left hundreds of millions of people untouched and has destroyed the homes and livelihoods of millions more. It is those marginalised people that Action Village India partners work with, in the Gandhian tradition of nonviolent action, to right economic and social injustice.
Fresh Eyes – People to People Travel is a Not-for Profit Tour Company that organizes tours across India. Fresh Eyes promotes responsible and thoughtful tourism, encouraging links between Europe and India. As a Community Interest Company, Fresh Eyes is committed to justice, and reinvests the revenue into the local communities that it organizes tours with.