Fabindia Faces Fresh Row Over Terming Fabrics ‘Khadi’


Kolkata: Ethnic attire brand Fabindia lands in soup again over using the term Khadi to describe its fabrics due to the the raw material used and the weaving pattern used in the creations. Earlier, the company was slapped with a legal notice by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for using the term without permission

The Textile Laboratory and Research Centre, Mumbai, said Fabindia has been using blends of flax with cotton, which doesn’t qualify as khadi. A report by the Ahmedabad-based Khadi Gramodyog Prayog Samiti, an independent research institute, earlier this month said, “Since right twist was used in weft of the sample, it is not at all a khadi fabric.” The laboratory, which comes under the textile ministry, also confirmed that an ‘Z’ twist had been used, rather than one that resembles an ‘S’.

“Khadi is identified by the direction of twist in the yarn,” said Sumantra Bakshi, an assistant professor at the textile and knitwear design department of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Kolkata. “Usually, it is called left twist and this makes a distinction between khadi and mill-spun yarn. Any other twists cannot be passed off as khadi.”

Fabindia said it hadn’t seen any of the reports ET cited. “We will not be able to comment as we have not seen any reports,” a spokesperson said. “We would, however, like to clarify that Fabindia sources the fabric from a number of grassroots suppliers, including certified institutions, across the country.”

Read More: Fabindia Removing ‘Khadi’ Brand Name From Its Products

Bakshi explained the flap over flax. “Khadi is made out of any indigenous material and though flax is a natural fibre, historically speaking, it is not an indigenous fibre,” he said. “The whole quantity of flax that is widely used in the country today is imported mostly from Europe and China.” The Khadi Village Industries Commission Act of 1956 states ‘Khadi means any cloth woven on handlooms in India from cotton, silk or woollen yarn handspun in India or from a mixture of any two or all of such ..

GS Ray, in charge of the Khadi Gramodyog Prayog Samiti said, “Khadi doesn’t allow the use of flax. Neither does it allow the Z twist, hence the sample sent for test clearly doesn’t qualify as khadi.”

The Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC), an autonomous body under the MSME ministry, had first sent a letter to the company in August 2015, asking it to stop using the word khadi on its products without proper permission. Fabindia sought and failed to get the requisite approval.


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