FASHION Designer Ritu Beri is behind the latest Vichar Vastra collection offered at Khadi outlets. She tells Ivinder Gill about the collection, how khadi has immense versatility for a designer and how it should be seen as a luxurious fabric made in India. Edited excerpts:
What brief were you given to design the Vichar Vastra line for the Khadi and Village Industries Commission?
When I heard the Prime Minister quote Mahatma Gandhi—“Khadi is not just a fabric (vastra), but a serious thought (vichar)”—I decided to create something that can be worn by each and every Indian, and named the garment ‘Vichar Vastra’. It’s a simple, easy-to-wear shirt that has the versatility to be worn by one and all. It can be easily paired with pants, a salwar, a skirt or even with jeans. Priced at R1,299, it is affordable and a statement piece to promote khadi as not just a fabric, but a symbol of the Indian state of mind.
What other products are you designing under the same line?
We have many initiatives in mind, including fashion shows for kids, showcasing khadi. We will be doing impressive promotions and exhibitions related to khadi, both in India and abroad.
How else are you involved with the KVIC and khadi?
I love khadi and am doing my best to make khadi a global fabric, so that it’s noticed by the youth. Banking on my experience of 25 years in the fashion industry, my effort will be to try and motivate people to wear khadi. My latest collection celebrates khadi and consists of Indo-western silhouettes, reflecting Indian charm with a modern flavour.
The silhouettes are a mix of our rich tradition with a contemporary look—the clothes are easy to wear, yet glamorous, essentially an eclectic blend of ghagras, salwars, choga-like jackets and easy-to-wear tops. Interesting details, a mix of appliqué, as well as unusual embroideries, constitute this versatile collection of khadi. The colour palette ranges from whites to pastels, metallics to blacks, enabling the freedom to create one’s own chromatic world of fantasy.
Tell us about the campaign for VicharVastra and the celebrities roped in?
The campaign for Vichar Vastra is very simple; we reach out to people from all walks of life. Many celebrities and politicians have endorsed Vichar Vastra, including cricketer Virender Sehwag, politicians Meenakshi Lekhi, Shashi Tharoor, Pawan Verma, Jay Panda, journalist Rajat Sharma,NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Medanta’s Naresh Trehan, model Nayanika Chatterjee and singer Jasbir Jassi, to name a few. The collection will be available all over India soon.
Any comments on how the fashion industry is treating khadi?
Khadi is acknowledged as the most breathable and comfortable fabric ever. Today, the fashion industry and consumers are beginning to recognise its value and strength. They have started respecting it as one of the luxurious fabrics produced in India.
Khadi has vast scope and we need to explore its possibilities. I personally love khadi; my first few collections in 1990 were primarily in khadi. It’s a very comfortable fabric great for India’s climatic conditions.
The future for khadi is great. The endeavour is to encourage national and international fashion designers to create their collections using khadi. We need to be proud of this fabric and create an exclusivity that is so well deserved.