Today, we start in India, with khadi cloth. Khadi, which means handwoven cloth made from hand spun yarn, is most often made of cotton. It’s lightweight, beautiful, and washes well, making it perfect for clothing and home goods.
“Khadi is the sun of the village solar system” -Gandhi
In 1920’s India, Mahatma Gandhi had begun promoting the idea of Indian self-reliance, and khadi cloth was at the center of this. By encouraging the Indian people to create their own textiles; rather than buying clothing from Great Britain- which was made of cotton, purchased cheaply in, and exported from, India to Great Britain and then sold back to the Indian people at huge markups; Ghandi began a movement that would change the Indian economy, especially the local village economies, forever. By using Indian grown cotton to create khadi, a traditional cloth woven in India as early as the 6th century, the Indian people were able to boycott imported fabric goods, and promote and grow their own textile economy.
Today you can find khadi everywhere from traditional Indian clothing styles (that look perfect for these warm summer days) to linens equally at home in India as in a kitchen in Brooklyn. You can even order khadi cloth for your own projects.
Every time we dig into the history and origin of textiles we love, we find so much more than just a piece of cloth. Is there a textile you’ve been curious to know more about? Leave us a comment and we’ll add it to our list for future Textile Treasury posts!
Non product photos via Auntie Oti. Product photos via links above.