A report of the stalls set up by the students of the Department of Apparel and Fashion Designing at Brookefields on October 2.
By Rahul Anand (M.Sc. Theoretical Computer Science, 2017-2022)
Photographs by Varsha Prada S (B.E Robotics and Automation, 2017-2021)
They say that you never forget your first love. For us Coimbatorians, Brookefields is the first mall we fell in love with. Even though there are two other malls in the city now, the popularity and the enthusiastic crowd Brookefields garners can never be equalled by those. On the 2nd of October, Brookefields was teeming with more people than the normal, thanks to the long weekend.
Amidst the sea of people, our MSc Fashion Design and Merchandising students set up stalls in the atrium to promote and sell Khadi goods. The initiative was a part of the efforts taken by the Department of Apparel and Fashion Designing of PSG College of Technology to revive the extensive use of Khadi by the people, as a part of Khadi Day celebrations – a tribute to the Mahatma.
To make the event happen, around 30 students from the AFD department worked relentlessly for about a fortnight, with the assistance of the faculty members. From sourcing raw Khadi from shops in Gandhipuram, Town Hall, Ukkadam and even Tiruppur, to coordinating the team and handling the publicity and marketing in the mall on the D-day, they did everything with utmost enthusiasm and made it a memorable experience for everyone involved. The products on sale and display were household furnishing items like Cushions, Covers, Table-mats, Coasters and accessories like Tote Bags, Purses, Pouches, Earrings, Bangles, Dolls. In addition to to all these items, there were also beautiful paintings for sale. The price of the articles ranged from Rs 5 to Rs 600, whose profits went to the students who put in the effort to make them.
For the fashionistas out there, here is some technical perspective. The materials used were Silk Khadi, Cotton Khadi and Khadi yarn. For embellishments Aari, Zardosi techniques were employed and fabric paintings inspired by Madhubani, Warli and Kalamkari were also used. Our ‘craftspeople’ painted on products using natural dyes and also used tucks, pleats, pompoms, tazzles, applique work etc., to pulchritude them. All the techniques and methods used seamlessly blends with the curriculum of their programme.
A brief look at the history of Khadi tells us that the art of manufacturing hand-spun clothes has been known to Indians for thousands of years. The hand woven cotton started its journey from India to Europe via the remote parts of Asia when Alexander invaded India. When his troops moved from here, Khadi did as well. Around the 1700s, the Western countries introduced cheaper garments and textile mills to India and Khadi saw a steep dip in usage.Seeking the timeline ahead to almost two centuries later, there came MK Gandhi, who not only promoted the use of Khadi, but also made it the symbol of the Swadeshi movement, the traditional robes being his signature dress-code. It was a form of revolt against the British to wear hand spun Khadi as opposed to the garments imported from England.
Khadi also owes its popularity to the facts that it is hand spun and that it is a versatile material, meaning that it is cold during summer and warm during winter.
Coming back to Brookefields and PSG College Of Technology, we had Ms. Sujatha, Marketing Manager of Brookefields, who incidentally, is an alumna of the department, talking to us. When asked about the impact that the stalls would have, she said that not many shops inside the mall itself sell Khadi products and added that this initiative by the students may motivate them to have more Khadi products. Further, she expressed her satisfaction about the success of the event, with many people flocking the stalls to buy products and also felt happy that the efforts to promote Khadi were appreciated.
Interacting with the stars of the day, the students, we found that they had learnt a lot about Khadi in the fortnight they worked for this event. They also expressed interest in continuing to produce and use Khadi products. A common remark from the students was that people had a misconception that Khadi is to be used only for dresses, while it is not so. They also added that their products were standing testimonies to how Khadi can be used in all forms for many articles.
To sum up, the event provided the students an opportunity to put their knowledge and talent to good use. Hopefully, it also inspired a few other people to take up Khadi and to revive its unparalleled recognition.
RAHUL ANAND R (M.Sc. THEORETICAL COMPUTER SCIENCE, 2017-2022) is an amateur writer trying to get the best out of himself. He loves watching movies and TV shows, reading books, and listening to music. He is a big fan of AR Rahman.
VARSHA PRADA S (B.E. ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION, 2017-2021) is an exuberant photographer and artist who loves travel and lifestyle vlogs. She wants to travel for the rest of her life.
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