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Khadi is the original slow fashion, says Anju Modi

Designer Anju Modi on her experimentation with the storied textile at the FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week

Anju Modi was inspired by a ‘Saatvic colour scheme’

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At the ongoing FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week, Khadi India / Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) showcased a presentation featuring khadi ensembles by French designer Mossi Traoré and Indian designers like Abhishek Gupta Benares, Anavila, Anju Modi, Charu Parashar and Rina Dhaka. Lounge caught up with designer Anju Modi, who was inspired by what she calls ‘a Saatvic colour scheme’, which includes colours such as haldi, chandan, and keshari – typically, colours associated with religious rituals in Vedic Hinduism. 

The veteran designer believes that we don’t just use words to communicate with each other. We also do so through energies, vibrations, music and colours, which are another tool of communication for her, and a powerful one. She tells Lounge more about the collection:  

What inspired the Saatvic colour scheme on your moodboard?

Each colour can trigger different emotions and behaviour, and they have a psychological effect on us as well. For instance, black signifies power, white brings peace and tranquillity, red stands for femininity. The reason behind going with a Sattvic colour scheme was to communicate the exceptionally beautiful and pure energies that two souls radiate, when they come together to create a beautiful life with each other. We’ve tried to translate their dreams of building a life full of love, peace, passion, good health and respect through our collection. Besides exuding grace, elegance and femininity, Sattvic is designed keeping in mind the heavenly vibrations a bride transmits on her special day.

Do you see khadi evolving into a luxury textile – back in the day, it was associated with the revolutionary youth of the '60s and '70s?

In Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “We cannot claim to have understood the meaning of Swaraj until it becomes as universal as currency.” I think with consumers today becoming more mindful about their consumption patterns, eco-friendly and sustainable fashion has progressed a lot and I’m hopeful that it will continue to grow with time. Khadi takes a good amount of time to be hand-spun and woven so the entire process of preparing this textile lives up to the definition of slow fashion. Being a sustainably grown fabric with zero carbon footprint, it has definitely become a high-end textile and is currently quite a luxury.

Do you think khadi's evolution into a government-owned brand has decimated its deep symbolism?

Khadi was an extremely integral part of the Swadeshi movement led by Gandhiji and it was originally brought in with the ideology of self-reliance. It was made locally, by locals for locals and currently, the khadi sector is regulated by the Indian government. I believe KVIC has been doing a great job in promoting khadi by introducing schemes, educating people and researching further in this domain, whilst ensuring its authenticity.

Time and again, designers have tried to make khadi more modern in terms of design but it still remains not quite mainstream. What can be done to change that?

We as designers can include khadi more in our creations and urge our consumers to educate themselves more about this textile that is indigenous to India. I’d suggest everyone to wear khadi with pride, attend textile fairs, start a conversation and gift this body friendly fabric to your dear ones too. Khadi, being a versatile textile, has a lot of potential to become a global fabric and boost our economy. Our aim should be to make better buying decisions as consumers and try to build a healthier world for generations to come.

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