Flying the flag for sustainability

The very fabric of India’s textile industry, khadi is appealing to modern buyers.

Khadi, a traditional handwoven cloth spun from cotton, wool or silk and a symbol of India’s textile heritage, is now centre stage of the world’s fashion scene. This heritage cloth1 which embodies the jugaad spirit, ticks all modern sustainability boxes, being a zero carbon-footprint fabric, which can be made without electricity or machine, and no need of any fuel to be manufactured. Just three litres of water are required to produce one metre of khadi, compared to 55 litres to produce a metre of fabric made in a mill.

Fascinatingly, this heritage fabric is the only material allowed to be used for the national flag.

This is a fabric that is valuable to many. Keeping the wearer warm during winter yet cool during the summer, khadi has evolved as a bridge between India’s traditional and modern culture. It is seeing a new wave of acceptance, and even has a place at India’s high fashion table largely thanks to local designers such as Rajesh Pratap Singh, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Ritu Kumar and Rohit Bal.2

In early 2018, Amazon India signed a memorandum of understanding to sell khadi products online, and will educate, train and enable rural khadi artisans to directly sell their products on Amazon India.

Brands such as Fab India and Nature Alley have made a mark with khadi products, inspiring non-khadi players such as Raymond Group to follow suit.3 Rising above its humble beginnings and national pride, khadi is now being promoted as an export that can help boost the nation’s economic growth and create employment.

With the impact of climate change becoming more pronounced, companies’ environmental awareness will likely increase, as the associated risks become clearer. At Eastspring Investments, we integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in our investment processes. Find out more about us here.