The impact of COVID-19 has been felt across industries, with fashion too, bearing the brunt of the pandemic. But amid the lockdown, there have also been positive initiatives that have kept our spirits up. From aiding artisans to undertaking sustainable steps, fashion has stepped up to rise to the challenge. One such optimistic start with sustainability on its mind is Khadi Sustainability, a brand manufacturing eco-friendly masks to overcome the shortage.
Read on to know all about the label and its much-needed initiative.
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Currently based out of Mumbai, Chinmayee Kusnur is a student at Simon Fraser University in Canada where she is pursuing a course in the ‘Bachelor of Science in Interactive Art and Technology’ program. With the outbreak of the pandemic, she had to return back to India from Vancouver in the middle of her semester in March. It was on her journey back home when she discovered first-hand a serious shortage of protective gear. While masks were announced to be essential, they weren’t easily available to everyone, least of all to the less privileged sections of the society. In a bid to bridge the gap, the young entrepreneur came up with the idea of making eco-friendly masks using khadi, an initiative that would not only provide protection but also generate employment. And so came into being the Khadi Kavach.
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Through the support of citizens we managed to raise money through Ketto (crowdfunding platform) and gave Khadi masks to MLA Honourable Mr. Rohit Pawar’s constituency Karjat Jamkhed in Maharashtra. @rohit_rajendra_pawar_ @pmo__india_ @cmomaharashtra_ #khadimask #khadi #sustainable #sustainablemask #SwachhBharat #coronovirus #mumbai #maharashtra #togetherwewillovercomecoronavirus #india #dharwad #mumbai #staysafe #pandemic #initiative #sustainability #unsdgs #mla #rohitpawar #karjat #jamkhed #maharashtra
The production for these masks takes place in Dharwad in North Karnataka, Chinmayee Kusnur’s native place. With the help of her cousin and co-founder Nachiket Jamadar who handles logistics, masks are produced by one of the oldest khadi societies in India established in the city in 1956.
As Chinmayee elaborates, making use of the handwoven material is a conscious choice. “It is washable, reusable, durable and allows maximum air to permeate, making it more comfortable than synthetic masks. The largely overlooked aspect of it is that considering the cloth is hand-spun & handwoven, the production itself creates a lot of scope in terms of employment generation, and aids self-help groups.” Often referred to as the ‘fabric of freedom’, khadi has a long history in India, one going right back to the time of the struggle for independence.
Through a fundraiser, she has managed to raise funds which were used to further the initiative. Since March, the Khadi Kavach masks have been distributed amongst the Mumbai police, Army personnel and the less-privileged sections. It’s also available to be shopped at a minimal cost via Khadi Sustainability’s website. All proceeds from sales will be aligned to further make these sustainable offerings available across the board. The initiative has also been lauded by actor Randeep Hooda, who has been a vocal supporter.
What’s next on the cards? The young student aims to make as many masks as possible to eventually donate to those in need. Here’s to Khadi Sustainability, a significant initiative of our times!
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