Presenting swadeshi in a renewed avatar, DesiTude offers handcrafted khadi denim jeans
With the manufacturing of blue jeans coming at a rather high environmental cost, the case against denims maybe strong. But let’s be honest, there are few things that are classic and versatile as denim pants. So, if you need to feel better about the next pair of jeans that you may splurge on, here’s something that you could consider — khadi denims. All of 26 years and Pallakad-born Siddharth Mohan Nair is bringing together two fabrics of distinct origins that could potentially revolutionise the fashion industry while preserving handlooms and textiles of the country. “People revere khadi, but everyone wears jeans,” begin Siddharth. While from a khadi revivalist's standpoint, his label DesiTude makes for a trendy reboot for the common man’s fabric, to a denim manufacturer his brand spells the rise and demand for denims that are truly homegrown. Starting out by creating his first pair of jeans in 2016, the brand recently diversified into creating bespoke jackets, trousers, pants, skirts and shirts.
An environmental engineer and a law graduate, Siddharth began his tryst with khadi and the idea of Swadeshi while reading about Gandhi. Now a Gandhian, the Pallakad-born entrepreneur gave up fast fashion brands for khadi and began travelling extensively when he came across a Khadi Bhandar showcasing the fabric. “I created a pair of jeans and showed it to some friends who loved it. The response was so overwhelming that we decided to take it online by creating a Facebook page.” However, the designer is aware that he isn’t the only one that is championing the cause for khadi denims, with New Delhi-based design house offering a completely hand stitched version. “11.11’s design process is like that of a couture house and this reflects in their product pricing. DesiTude attempts at forging a strong connection with people across the board.”
Using handspun indigenous cotton that is woven on traditional wooden shuttles and dyed at a non-disclosed weaving centre, the denims are made from cotton with no elastane, while the finishing touches are made using machine stitches. “People associate khadi with organic, but that isn’t always the case. While we do offer a range of naturally dyed apparel, we also have a non-organic dye range,” Siddharth says, explaining the brands vivid colour palette of red, yellow, pink, green, blue, indigo and black. Taking on another misconception that the handwoven fabric is the cloth of the intelligentsia, the designer presented his ideology through a lookbook that featured everyday folk — lawyers, students, photographers, migrant workers and labourers. Quite the throwback to origins of denims and their popularity among the working class.
Forwarding the brand’s bespoke and customisation capabilities, the brand is currently diversifying into creating bespoke saris. “We have an interesting lookbook in the works,” Siddharth reveals. With orders piling in from across the country, the brand is looking at collaborating with apparel stores that work on sustainable fashion.
Jeans priced at Rs 4,000.