How did sustainable label Khara Kapas make handlooms mainstream for Bollywood?

How did Delhi-based hand-crafted cotton label Khara Kapas make sustainable handloom mainstream? Let’s find out

author_img Ujjainee Roy Published :  03rd January 2020 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  03rd January 2020 12:00 AM

A beige collared lapel top in beige by Khara Kapas

When Shilpi Yadav started her slow fashion label Khara Kapas four-and-a-half years back, she had no idea how impeccable her timing is; or how homegrown handloom cotton would go mainstream with Bollywood airport runs. “I remember we did a festive line in 2015, and everybody including my family told me, 'why are you doing a festive line in cotton? Nobody wants to wear this!’ But I always wore cotton for weddings and for festive occasions, I used my own sensibilities to create something I could wear. And it worked incredibly well for the label,” the designer tells us.

Jade maxi, with a circular collar, gathered neckline and white and red striped border by Khara Kapas

The Delhi-based brand was recently the label-in-residence at Kolkata design studio Mono Calcutta in October, and has clearly got the attention of Bollywood as everyone from Divya Khosla Kumar to Kubbra Sait is wearing Khara Kapas.

Khara Kapas just released their Fall collection One Quarter Anna recently which has been taking Instagram by storm. And we caught up with Yadav to hear all about her vision.

Tell us how Khara Kapas was conceived

Khara Kapas quite literally means pure cotton. I love wearing cotton and I always found it to be chic. In 2015, I travelled across the country, collected some fabrics, I designed a small capsule collection, and did a pop-up in Gurgaon that year, it did really well. That's how it began. I really wanted to focus just on cotton, wearable easy silhouettes in ready-to-wear. 

Judson black stitch and release inverted box pleat skirt, with contrast checkered pocket bags 

Tell us where you source your fabrics from

I source cotton from all over the country, from Kolkata to Kutch, Chennai, Andhra Pradesh, then from UP and MP. Any kind of interesting cotton fabrics I find, I try to work with it. 

Do you think the hand-crafted, handlooms give your label an edge?

When we started out, we were one of the few names working exclusively with cotton. When the brand was conceptualised, I wanted to take it outside India because I thought it wouldn't be appreciated here. But the response we found was incredible. Also, the kind of response we got from showbiz names has been really good, which was a surprise for us. We'd never seen actors going for handlooms before this! They are even wearing it to parties, that's when we realised this could go totally mainstream.

Crimson V neck maxi with an overall quill stroked print and gathered waistband

Tell us about your fall line-up

We’ve kept the fall collection very minimalistic, but I wanted to make it interesting. My colour sensibilities revolve around chalky and understated tones. When you're working with natural or eco-friendly dyes and cotton, you don't get really bright colours. But I wanted to do a lot of solids because in winter it is very easy to style solids, they are also very easy to layer up.

Was sustainability a conscious decision?

Absolutely. I started the label in 2015 and I conceived in 2016 and had my first child in 2017. I became very conscious as an individual, and for my family. So we try being as sustainable as possible. We do not work with plastic cups in the factory, we only use steel cups so there's no wastage.

Emerald puff sleeve play dress with a pleated bottom and red and white striped border by Khara Kapas

We recycle all our packaging. I make sure our clients don't have to buy a lot of pieces. You can keep it for longer and spend less money, you can keep 10 pieces, which won't go out of fashion. Slow fashion can be a useful, conscious step towards achieving complete sustainability.

Price starts from Rs 4,500