Wendell Rodricks On The Evolution Of The Timeless Khadi

Wendell Rodricks on the Evolution of Effervescent Khadi

“As a fabric, khadi is inspired by nature. It does not need the crutch of fashion. All it needs is people of style to endorse it,” says khadi connoisseur and well-known designer Wendell Rodricks. 

In a world where artificial fibres and synthetic power looms rule the textile industry, there is very little scope for beautiful hand-woven fabrics to survive. We’ve seen it on television, heard about it from family and friends, and sometimes unknowingly worn the fabric while growing up; the exclusivity and amount of work that goes into making hand-woven fabrics uber-cool, trendy and of ‘international’ tastes cannot be underestimated. One of the oldest and most popular hand-woven fabrics, native to India, is khadi.

Blast From The Past
Khadi as a fabric existed long before the Swadeshi Movement—a time when Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi urged the nation and its people to do away with foreign goods and items, encouraging the indigenous growth of textiles and industries. Little did one know that the humble fabric spun from the rustic wheels at an ashram in Gujarat would now become a fashion statement.
Long after the Swadeshi movement, khadi was still in vogue. As India stepped into the 21st century, a new breed of fashion designers discovered the versatility of this humble fabric.

Wendell Rodricks on the Evolution of Effervescent Khadi Wendell Rodrick’s Collection

Khadi Is India’s Fashion Statement
“I have always believed in khadi, worked for the Kasturba Gandhi Trust in Goa, and worn khadi. It is the fashion language I base my philosophy on. Home spun and handwoven fabrics are treasures in the modern fashion world, where blanding (bland brands) has become almost de rigueur,” says Rodricks.
What started out as a humble spin-of-the-wheel by Mahatma Gandhi is now used by Indian designers at fashion weeks across the nation and the world. From jumpsuits to dresses, pleated trousers to sarees, salwars to the trademark kurtas, lehengas to anarkalis, casual wear to formal outfits, brands and designers from India and abroad have used the fabric to its max.

Wendell Rodricks on the Evolution of Effervescent Khadi North East Fashion Fest, Oct 2013

From Poor To Glamorous
The fashion weeks have seen khadi couture being endorsed by celebrities, artists, tinseltown faces and politicians, too. The humble fabric has earned such high esteem that it is now proudly worn by the rich and famous. But wasn’t khadi at one time called the ‘poor man’s cloth’?
“Forget about the masses. Let’s get the so-called fashion intelligentsia on our side to ignore polyester sarees with embroidery, bling brocade Swarovski crystal sarees at auspicious weddings, and flashy, fast fashion in their daily lives. We need more khadi wearers, whether it is niche or masses. Unfortunately, very few people truly believe in khadi. It is a niche market that cannot fall into street, nor high-end fashion. Khadi is for those that believe in its soul, ie Gandhian non-violence,” says Rodricks.

North East Fashion Fest, Oct 2013

In Conclusion
Versatile by nature, khadi can be worn anytime and anywhere. As a fabric, it exudes comfort, elegance and style. So go right ahead and create your own style statement.

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Images courtesy: Wendell Rodricks

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