At Bhumi, we are privileged to work with two ancient fabric traditions based around the loom from India and Turkey.
India and Turkey are two of the largest growers and producers of certified organic cotton, and both countries are steeped in a rich textile history. They both share a rich culture of spun fabrics on looms, and each has created a unique fabric that reflects significant moments in history and tradition.
Khadi is an Indian woven fabric that has been known to date back to the ancient glorious Vedic times (5000 BC) where there are detailed accounts of cotton and natural fibres being hand woven with gold thread by a handloom.
In more recent times, Mahatma Gandhi who is not only referred to as the revered Father of the Indian Nation, but also the father of modern 'Khadi' revived the tradition of spinning Khadi fabric with the Charkha, which literally means “wheel” and is India’s generic term for any spinning wheel or hand-cranked spinning machine. The Charka is also the heart of the Indian Flag; to date the Indian flag is only ever made in one area in India on hand spun Khadi fabric by specialist weavers and spinners.
Khadi is not seen as just a type of textile, it was a movement by Gandhi who revived a lost tradition that once placed India as one of the largest producers and exporters of not only cotton but also finished cotton garments. In the 1700s the British Rule along with the Industrial Revolution banned all cotton fabrics and production in India. As a result, millions of spinners and weavers were rendered unemployed, deprived of the only means to earn their livelihood and left to die of starvation.
During the pre-independence era in the 1920s the movement of Khadi manufacturing gained momentum under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi the great visionary presented Khadi as a symbol of nationalism, equality, unity, non-violence and self-reliance. Gandhi’s message was clear; “The message of the spinning-wheel is much wider than its circumference. Its message is one of simplicity, service of mankind, living so as not to hurt others, creating an indissoluble bond between the rich and the poor, capital and labour, the prince and the peasant.”
As a fabric, Khadi is soft yet dense with a unique and versatile weave that keeps one warm in winter as well as cool in summer. Our organic cotton Khadi goes through a process of hand picked cotton that is cleaned, carded to remove any impurities of fibres, spun, woven and dyed all with natural and vegetable based dyes. The result is an exquisite fabric full of texture and powerful history.