The brand KhaDigi is formed from “Khadi” and “Digital”, bringing digital printing techniques to traditional Indian Khadi fabric. Khadi fabric is handwoven, hand-spun cloth made using a spinning wheel called charkha, and has the unique attributes of being cool in summer and warm in winter. KhaDigi revives the traditional art form of hand-spinning Khadi fabric with a contemporary twist, using digital printing techniques.
Championing sustainability in its operations, KhaDigi has made breakthroughs in developing more than 150 new Khadi and handloom fabrics using organic cotton, bamboo yarn, soybean fibre yarn and mulberry silk yarn. In addition, they are exploring the use of other biodegradable and natural materials such as banana yarn and hem.
A testament to their achievements, the Indian government has partnered up with them to implement 5000 solar-powered charkhas on a state level, following a successful pilot run with an interested organisation. This will give the spinners an income of around Rs 12,000 after the training.They will also have a small factory in their homes, which allows them to have a sustainable livelihood using green energy.
Today, KhaDigi boasts a strong team of more than 500 weavers, with 100 artisans involved in the different processes, and producing approximately 20,000 metres of fabric a month. These are then sold to designers, retailers and exporters.
“We have around 10 crore artisans and around 1 crore weavers in India,” says Umang. “In 5 years, I definitely want to reach out to more than 1 lakh people and create a database based on the quality of the cloth they produce and the income they are generating. She also stated that she was exploring the use of Blockchain to let people know the provenance of the fabric and the amount of effort that was put into it by the workers. To Umang, it is really important to tell their story to the world.
Through the ups and downs in the business, the purpose was always about empowerment. Umang’s passion behind creating KhaDigi was to empower women and to create skill-based, dignified employment options for people in rural areas.
“I believe that any skill which is not respected is a disgrace to our country. Because we are not a machine-based country - we are artisans. We have many skills, and these should be celebrated, respected and appreciated,” says Umang.