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Back to Mahatma,khadi-denim way

Ahmedabad: To boost the sale of khadi, one of the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi, in today`s competitive market that is flooding with national and international apparel brands, this traditional cloth has now been reinvented in the form of `khadi-denim`. Rajkot-based Saurashtra Rachnatmak Samiti(SRS) introduced khadi-denim in the market about eight months back, which is now proving to be a hit.

Mahatma Gandhi used khadi as a tool to fight against the British rule and made the khadi-producing `charkha` a symbol of Indian non-violent freedom movement. He promoted khadi as a means of self-employment for people, that was ultimately aimed at reviving the villages. On Gandhiji`s call, Indian people renouced Britain-imported cloths to take up khadi, turning Manchester bankrupt.

However, after witnessing the khadi sales dwindling over the past few years, SRS decided to give a modern touch to the traditional cloth, to revive it. "Year-by-year, the sale of khadi has been decreasing and more and more people, associated with khadi industry, leaving the profession," Chairman of SRS Davendra Desai told.

"This made us think about how to arrest the decline in sale and save the livelihood of the people. We decided to give khadi more of a modern and 21st Century make-over by producing designer dress, shirts and denim-khadi, instead of only the traditional kurta-pyjamas," Desai said.

"Out of all these products, denim-khadi has been a hit in sales at all our outlets in Gujarat. Now, the biggest denim player in the market, Arvind Mills, has contacted us for a mass-scale production of khadi-denims," he said.

However, Desai adds that it was not an easy task to make khadi-denim popular among people. "First of all, we had to make a different kind of khadi, so that, it can match the denims available in the market. We produced quality material, from which, strong and durable trousers could be made," he said.

To popularise it was again a herculean task, so we decided to hold fashion shows, with models walking on the ramp, wearing the new khadi products including the khadi-denim, he said adding that well-publicised fashion shows in big cities people`s attention to khadi denims.

Some enterprising designer took the khadi denim concept to Paris textile show, which aroused national interest in the product. "The sales in our outlet grew after fashion conscious people came to our stores to try something new. Khadi denim is one of the growing products to have a good sale across our outlets and others in Gujarat have followed us," Desai said. "Last year, almost eight months back we had introduced two colours – white and black of khadi-denims. But due to the demand, they are now available in six colours," he said.

"We are soon going to sign an MoU with Arvind mills, which has shown interest in mass scale production of khadi-denim for supply of 5,000 meter of cloths every month. This development is likely to revive the khadi industry and create more self-employment opportunities for the people," he added.

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