Issue #10, 2023 ISSN: 2581- 9410
A lot is heard about kala cotton – the indigenous cotton grown in the Kutch and Surendranagar districts of Gujarat. In fact, the word kala cotton has become almost commonplace in the textiles space. All the designers know about it, the retailers work with it, some international groups import it, every craft bazar has stalls that sell fabric or products of kala cotton. And it has been one of the recent key triggers of the turnaround of fortunes now visible in the main weaving villages of Kutch. The other day, even my aunt who wears mostly polyester fabrics, asked me about it. For someone who was there and leading the team at Khamir that worked on bringing kala cotton to the fore, it is deeply gratifying to see this unfold. And yet, something niggles; there is a disquiet within. That the story of kala cotton is still very incomplete. It is certainly an inspiration for others but to my mind, it needs a further deep dive if it must remain a successful model. It may well go the predictable way of all handloom clusters where innovations have a good run before, they get corrupted and diluted due to commercial success.