Variety

Bringing in the `shabby chic’ with Khadi

 Rahul Thekdi Mumbai | Updated on January 22, 2018

Khadi Utsav in Mumbai. Pic by SHASHI ASHIWAL

The scent of sandalwood and a visual spread of a hundred shades of Khadi welcome you into one of the city’s most iconic shops. Standing tall on the historic Dadabhai Naoroji Road, the two storied Khadi Bhandar with its stone pillars and wooden display windows has been a magnet for Khadi lovers for long.  

“People always want to come back and buy a piece of nostalgia,” says Haresh Shah, Trustee with Mumbai’s Khadi and Village Industries Commission. And that view has only been reinforced in the three-month Khadi Utsav that started in October.  

The Khadhi centre’s revenues crossed the Rs one crore mark in less than a fortnight – something it would not have done in a month, says Shah. “On the first day itself we sold goods worth Rs 27 lakh,” he says, sitting in a room flooded with history and a centrally-placed life size photograph of Mahatma Gandhi.

“We have a strong brand; Khadi today can be a fashion statement and we want to promote it not as a fabric but as a way of life,” Shah told Business Line. “Today Khadi is quite popular with the youth, they have evolved; they want to see new textiles, it is like shabby chicness,” he adds.

A month down, the Utsav has been receiving tremendous response from the different states, who are represented at the festival.

To try and bring Khadi into the main stream market, the Khadi Bhandar has invited 50 producers of Khadi and other handmade and herbal products from across the country to sell here. Not only has this given these producers a bigger platform, but has also given consumers more choices to browse through at the shops.

A “purely” employment based exercise, Shah says, “Our aim is to promote hand made (products), I believe it is the only way to create sustainable employment.”

Further tailoring the old Khadi shop to contemporary requirements, it has set up stalls in the shop for customers to get their clothes designed and stitched as they want it. A group of women Self help Groups (SHG) have been given this task and this has helped generate employment, he explains. And for this, the Khadi Bhandar has joined hands with SNDT Women’s University’s out reach department which carries out these activities.

Delhi-based Dhirendra Yadav, one of the participants at the Utsav, looks forward to the festivities around the corner. “We would like to have more people coming in, the footfall is a little less than expected but I understand that people in Mumbai are really busy. We expect to do good sales in the upcoming Diwali season, we did sales worth Rs 16 lakh in Delhi early this year,” he says.

 

In fact, to up the tempo even more, the Utsav will inaugurate a saree festival on December 5th where producers from across the country will display their sarees.

Published on November 04, 2015

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