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Denim Khadi, A Sustainable Alternative To Regular Denim

In India, our clothes are often an indication of what part we belong to. They reflect the essence of our culture and heritage. With the richness and diversity in Indian textiles and design, it is Khadi that is the symbol of India's textile heritage. It was khadi that brought this vast nation together. 75 years after independence, Khadi isn't just a fabric of the past, but also a fabric of the future. It is still a symbol of sustainable living and self-reliance. Khadi not only generates employment in rural areas but it is also eco-friendly in the age of polluting fast fashion. Did you know, that making a metre of Khadi only takes 3 litres of water? The fabric uses zero electricity and is completely handspun and woven.

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There was a time when Khadi was a symbol of swadeshi, as British-made clothes were boycotted. Today, this fabric has grabbed the attention of brands and designers from across the globe. The texture of Khadi is so unique that no two garments can look the same, giving your outfit exclusivity.

With a growing demand for ethically-produced and environment-friendly clothes, Indian brands and designers are going back to their roots to embrace Khadi and are giving this highly eco-friendly, handspun fabric a makeover. One such brand on the list is Anuprerna, an artisanal sustainable textile brand.

Anuprerna was founded in 1983 in a small village in the Burdwan district of West Bengal, India with the mission to support and empower rural artisans, promote and preserve East India's traditional crafts and textiles and use of natural and sustainable fabric, and make them accessible to the world.

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Amit Singha, Founder of Anuprerna, decided to spearhead his father's business to create a sustainable and eco-friendly global brand. He shared,

I belong to a rural village in Bengal and growing up I have seen artisans come to my house. While going to school I have seen those artisans' places and looms running. So, that had an impact on me while growing up. With time I have seen those artisan and art forms kind of seize to exist in the vicinity of our village. So, that kind of had an impact on me and that's how I started thinking about doing something for the artisan community and working with this craft and the artisans and that's how the brand came into being.

Amit always wanted to give back to his roots, to empower the culture and people he grew up with, and that's what he is doing with Anuprerna. The brand is engaged in offering an exclusive array of scarves, stoles and garments made out of natural fibres like Khadi linen and Ahimsa silk. The brand also specialises in a variety of hand weaving and printing techniques like Jamdani, Shibhori, hand painting, and block and screen printing with natural vegetable dye.

Also Read: Paiwand Studio Upcycles Textile Waste To Make Fabrics For Apparel And Home Furnishing

The latest addition to Anuprerna's list is Khadi denim. Khadi denim is made by the handspun process of Khadi in which natural fibres are handspun to form yarns which are then handwoven on the handloom to create the Khadi fabric. Being a completely manual process, there is no consumption of electricity or fuel. Also, the process doesn't involve any chemicals or harmful substances like bleach or any synthetic dyes.

Talking about Khadi denim, Mr Singha said,

This is different from regular denim in the sense that regular denim is fully machine-made. They use a lot of lycra and a few other man-made fibres. Denim khadi is more of a handwoven alternative but it is more natural and eco-friendly. Although it is not as strong as regular denim, that is a compromise we have to make to build something which is different from regular denim.

Being Khadi, the denim breathes more and is lighter, therefore, more comfortable than a regular pair of jeans. Mr Singha added,

As a brand, we are trying to kind of modernise or bring new innovations into traditional textiles that we do. We started innovating around weaving, new crafts, designs and colors, and traditional textiles. So, that is how we started exploring. Earlier, we used to primarily do plain weave but then we started exploring twill, satin and other kinds of weave and that is how denim is one of the options that came in.

Also Read: 'Aslee' Converts Hemp, Bamboo And Nettle Into Fabric And In The Process, Helps Local Communities

As new-age consumers are moving towards conscious fashion, the perception of Khadi is changing among people. And brands like Anuprerna are committed to capturing that changing perception and working towards a more future-ready sustainable fashion. Mr Singha added,

We want to kind of instill ethical consumerism in consumers and businesses worldwide. By that what we mean is that we not only want to stick to textiles, but we also want to create other products with textiles at our core. We want to consistently give employment to artisans and keep traditional textiles alive. We want to bring in other innovations and collaborations wherever possible to develop more textiles and products and connect those to consumers and brands globally so that they become aware of the beautiful crafts and efforts that go behind them.

The fashion industry is at crossroads, and as it reconfigures its identity with the life of the planet, and life on the planet, in mind; as consumers, it becomes our responsibility to choose environmentally-sound fabrics that don't add to the pollution. Let us choose if we want to be a part of the problem or part of the solution.

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