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NGO promotes Kala cotton among young designers

Kutch-based NGO, Khamir is working with the National Institute of Design to experiment with Kala cotton. Kala is a coarse and short-staple strand of cotton grown in large parts of Gujarat.

It is tenacious and more responsive to dyes. However, it’s not easy to work with. From cultivation to creating yarns, it requires more effort compared to mainstream crops. While two groups — consisting of artisan and three students each — worked on cotton, two opted for sheep wool acquired from Kutch. The project was part of the coursework of the design program.

All the clothes were made completely on loom, without any waste, with natural dyes. Young artisans are being encouraged to get exposed to global trends and new ways of designing to reach out to a newer audience. The initiative at NID was thus strategic to providing them a new perspective.

Stakeholders have shown interest in taking the idea further. The indigenous cotton and wool, apart from being sustainable and providing livelihood to the traditional practitioners, are also better suited to the local climate. Indian textiles have thrived on indigenous varieties of cotton used by people in different parts of the country to suit their needs.