Muslin- The word ‘Muslin’ is believed to derive from Marco Polo’s description of the cotton trade in Mosul, Iraq. Another view is that of fashion historian Susan Greene, who wrote that the name arose in the 18th century from mousse, the French word for “foam.” The word is most likely derived from the port of Machilipatnam, called Masulipatnam earlier, from where muslin was exported to South Asia, the Roman Empire, Ethiopia, and Egypt, where it was famously used to wrap mummies.  It was often traded for ivory and rhinoceros horn by Greek and Arab merchants.  (more…)

Madras Checks: My all-time favorite, and always in fashion, Madras checks stem from a humble origin with fascinating and quirky twists and turns in their journey.

The Origin of Madras Checks Fabric

Around the 12th century, Madras Checks was a piece of handloom clothing for India’s peasant class in the village called Madraspatnam (Madras now Chennai). The local weavers would extract the soft fibers from the “tip-skin” of native trees to weave 36″ wide square handkerchiefs, which were then block printed with bright colored check patterns.  They were worn as a garment similar to a sarong wrapped around the waist and extending to the ankles, called a lungi.

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Khadi
Jamdani Khadi from Marasim Library
Khadi or Khaddar- How is Khadi philosophy applicable today

My husband and I transition our day into relaxation and nostalgia by binge watching motion series adaptation of R. K. Narayan’s book  ‘Malgudi days’ .  Short stories from a small village exuding the zeitgeist of pre-independence India- reminiscent of my grandmother’s beautiful stories. In one particular episode of Malgudi days, the whole village organizes a bonfire to burn their ‘English’ clothes.. The story belongs to a time when Indian’s were encouraged to keep only ‘khadi’ or ‘khaddar’ clothes with them. It gives the audience a glimpse of the boycott movement that was adopted to fight against the imperial rule.

‘Khadi’ , a  material embodiment of an ideal’

In the current situation, we are witnessing the collapse of long distant supply chains and brutal financial realities. It is time that countries adopted self reliance and economic self sufficiency that was advocated by  M.K Gandhi for India. Gandhi used humble Khadi as his weapon for inspiring a revolution.

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