Exhibition: Cotton, a way forward

Last weekend I attended the ‘Cotton – A way forward‘ exhibition at Maison Colombani in Pondicherry. The wonderful French colonial town of Pondicherry, where the pace slows down (provided you stick to the French quarter and avoid the town centre), and where we have our periodic fix of steak, red wine and chips, with breakfast of fresh breads and home-made jam!

The Kapas organic cotton project, which has culminated in this exhibition, is an initiative founder by Upasana Design Studio. Their aim has been to create a sustainable, ethical, end to end process from farm to product. Working directly with small scale cotton farmers, dyers and weavers and showcasing the most sustainable methods to promote the best way forward. The exhibition is intended to reach out, raise awareness, and encourage others to question where their cotton comes from.

I will be visiting Upasana and interviewing their Kapas representative in the coming weeks to discuss the project and how it has helped farmers to convert to organic. This will feed into an article I am writing for Ethical Fashion Forum.

I’ve picked out a few points from the exhibition which I feel are especially relevant. The most poignant for me personally is the idea that we need to raise the value of the khadi hand-loom fabrics in India. These products should again be appreciated for their values, uniqueness and properties. In society today, hand-loom can not compete with power-loom fabric, but it should not have to. A piece of hand made fabric will appeal to a different market entirely and with the right marketing and product development there is no reason why they can not be valued for their aesthetic and cultural relevance.

For further information on the project visit the Paruthi Blog or the Kapas website.