Now on view in New York at Issey Miyake’s TriBeCa boutique is “Khadi: Indian Craftsmanship”—an exhibition celebrating the luxurious fabric from India. Open to the public through August 22, the presentation features a selection of Khadi materials and garments, the stories and philosophies behind them, and a biographical feature on the late Martand Singh—a wildlife conservationist, parliamentarian, and advocate recognized for the revival of Indian culture. Accompanying the store’s presentation, as well, are a line of exclusive Khadi-crafted garments and accessories featuring elaborate archival prints, available for purchase through the duration of the show.
Best known for a series of landmark exhibitions of Indian textiles in the 1980s and ‘90s, Singh made it his mission to spread the impeccable beauty and craftsmanship of his home country’s textiles, introducing them to fashion and design scenes internationally. Singh began collaborating with Issey Miyake in the 1980s, since creating a series of clothing that was referred to as a “dialogue with Indian culture”—a dialogue that has continued into the present day with Issey Miyake collaborator, Makiko Minagawa’s brand, HaaT.
To create the fine Khadi textiles, craftsmen begin hand-spinning cotton on a charkha spinning wheel, one thread at a time, before handweaving them together using traditional techniques. Embroidery, beading, prints, and other embellishments are often added to the soft, airy fabric, turning the lightweight textiles into exquisite wearable works of art like open-silhouette blouses, tunics, robes, coats, and accessories.