Happy Independence Day 2018: Khadi is a fabric for all seasons and stays fresh all day long, making it a perfect choice for kidswear, says designer Ritu Beri.
Khadi is not traditionally used for children’s wear. What prompted the choice?
It is so much fun to dress up children; moreover kids today are too particular about what they wear unlike before. My journey as a mother made me realise the need for ethical designer wear for children, something that’s exclusive and yet easygoing. My endeavour to promote khadi, the most skin-friendly fabric and open up unexplored markets and sectors were the reasons behind these collections for kids. The feedback has been good and the concept is picking up well with customers.
Is it difficult to maintain khadi with kids, who tend to be boisterous and messy?
Khadi can be very fine, super soft and comfortable. It crushes not more than any other cotton fabric and looks remarkably fresh almost all day long. Khadi can easily be hand-washed and it’s durable; all you have to do is use mild detergent to wash, then let it air dry.
My daughter Gia is 10 years old and she loves wearing khadi. Also, I love educating her about the importance of the fabric and how valuable it is.
What are its advantages over other materials?
Khadi is often called an air-conditioned fabric; it keeps you cool in summers and warm in winters. Khadi is the most breathable and comfortable fabric to wear. I see khadi playing a major role in kidswear today because of its characteristics and versatility; it can be styled in any manner. It’s so much fun to dress up children.
What message does wearing khadi send out to kids?
Historically, for generations, khadi has been recognised as ‘the’ fabric of India. A traditional, organic, handspun fabric, which is pure luxury. Khadi is a powerful pre-Independence fabric, with a lot of scope and potential. Khadi for me remains an effective and powerful symbol of the futility of “Western imitation” and the need for a revival of local textiles. It’s more than just mere cloth. Khadi is the most environment-friendly fabric ever, requiring no electricity, machines or fuel to manufacture. It has zero carbon footprint, which is very relevant in today’s time.
You have also used phulkari and other traditional embroideries for kidswear.
Traditional Indian embroideries show the authenticity and intricacies of textiles in India. The fact that they are made by the hands of beautiful artisans with so much of perfection makes them stand out. Some other Indian traditional / sustainable materials that are good for kidswear include organic cotton, wool, green silk, bamboo, etc.