It is chic, stylish and, importantly, eco-friendly. Using vegetable dyes further ensures that the fabric remains completely natural. Anne Paramesh-waran, who has a lot of khadi in her wardrobe, quips, "It is difficult to change your style of dressing once you begin wearing these eco-friendly and hand woven fabrics. The simplicity of the fabric is what strikes me most, it looks classic any time and promotes a sort of responsible dressing. Some people say khadi is reserved for artistes and activists but I feel it is fashionable to wear hand woven products."
Devi Annapoorni, a fashion designer, says, "Khadi has been stereotyped as belonging only to the older generation. However, youngsters nowadays like the desi look. Wearing a kurta over jeans, and accessorizing with wooden bangles or long earrings adds an extra zing to the whole look."
Khadi silk has made quite an impression on the runway. "We are working with designers, but maintain the standards of the fabric," says Lakshmi Narayanan, who works in one of the textile units. "Many people who look for traditional designs prefer khadi silk when compared to the gold zari saris."
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission helps in promoting the fabrics to a large extent by enabling people from rural areas to set up their own businesses. "We design the material and each piece is either embroidered, dyed or simply spun. We retain the tradition of spun khaddar and make sure that it does not lose its identity," says Raj Sharma, who runs a successful khadi business venture.
Nowadays, even corporate office goers opt for kurtas. And, youngsters have begun to embrace the fabric by giving it a western look. "I purchased a few kurtas and I was happy with the purchase as it is not just about clothing - it is also about the fact that I am actually following the saying 'Be Indian buy Indian' although I am wearing jeana," says Mohammed Sameen, an engineering student.