Textile major Raymond has launched a branded khadi apparel label called ‘Khadi By Raymond’ which is expected to directly compete with Fabindia. “Embodying some of the latest design trends and enhancing its quality, Raymond Khadi is set to reposition khadi as a fabric of choice,” Raymond CMD Gautam Hari Singhania said.
Earlier, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) had received its largest ever order worth Rs 2 crore from Raymond for the supply of 98,000 metres of the fabric as per a deal signed between Raymond and KVIC in December 2016. KVIC had also certified that Raymond could use the khadi mark to sell readymade garments and fabric which would be available at both KVIC as well as Raymond outlets, besides global markets and e-commerce portals.
KVIC Chairman V K Saxena called it a historical moment adding that the development would serve the cause of India’s rural artisans. Incidentally, the mainstreaming of khadi is a result of the thrust provided by the Modi government which introduced the use of solar energy to power ‘charkhas’ to make the spinning of khadi yarn a sustainable venture.
The Indian Railways and the government passenger airline Air India were also encouraged to use khadi products in trains as well as flights. KVIC’s sales grew by 24% in 2015-16 and 33% to Rs 2,00f crore in 2016-17. The Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh said that public-private partnerships such like the one with Raymond boosts industry confidence by ensuring market linkages which can lead to demand generation. The increase in demand for khadi will be a positive measure for the economy creating numerous employment opportunities for artisans, he said.
According to the KVIC sources, this joint venture is also a step towards making a radical shift in people's perception of khadi from a fabric that stands for nationalism to a fabric which is fashionable. It will also employ around 2.1 lakh man hours for khadi spinners and weavers.