Patagonia is renewing its support for khadi denim, an ancient textile technique originating in India. The apparel company recently placed a repeat order of more than 17,050 meters, or approximately 18,000 yards, of the fabric to use in upcoming collections.
Last year, the company purchased 30,000 meters (approximately 32,000 yards) of the fabric through Indian denim mill Arvind after visiting the khadi manufacturing site, Udyog Bharti, and appointed U.S.-based third-party assessor Nest to verify the authenticity and sustainability of its methods.
In 2017, Arvind reached an agreement with Indian government organization Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to generate demand for khadi denim products and provide consistent work for artisans the Gujarat region of India. The deal followed through on the India prime minister’s “local to global” push to elevate the country’s offerings—and khadi is one of its top contributions.
KVIC chairman Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena recently touted the benefits of khadi during a press conference, referring to the material as a “national fabric” and urging everyone from celebrities to educational institutions to explore creative ways to wear and promote the ancient technique around the world. The khadi movement dates back to 1918, when activist and icon Mahatma Gandhi promoted the fabric as a source of income for the people of India. It later became a symbol against foreign rule.
Known for its unique texture, khadi boasts 100 percent cotton handspun single ply yarn in warp, or in both warp and weft, in the 3×1 twill weave. It has zero carbon footprint, as it does not require electricity or any kind of fuel for its manufacturing.
“At a time when the world is looking for sustainable alternatives in clothing, it should be remembered that khadi is an eco-friendly and sustainable fabric that certainly meets the requirement,” he said.
Khadi’s sustainable properties make it a strategic fabric choice for Patagonia, a company with a reputation for engaging in responsible business practices. It has been honored in B Lab’s “Best for the World” list every year since 2017. Last year, it inked a multiyear sales agreement to secure access to Infinited Fiber Company’s regenerated textile fiber, Infinna, and formalized its efforts to convince U.S. farmers and state governments to embrace hemp under the Bring Hemp Home campaign. By 2025, the apparel brand aims to be carbon neutral and use only renewable or recycled materials in its products.