The livery of freedom

I am inspired by a text Gandhi and Khadi, the Fabric of Indian Independence, I just have read, written by Susan S.Bean. Basically the text deals with the visual language consisted in the clothing, how clothing can exprese the meaning of a wearier, how it can influence the public and how Gandhi had used it in order to send his thoughts and massages.

Mahatma Gandhi was an important figure in Indian history. He was a nationalist who was fighting for Indian freedom at the begging of 20th century. His main goal was to bring back Indian cloth manufacuers destructed by the British in the late eighteenth century.

In his early age he identified himself with the European clothing (he was studying in England to become a barrister) even convincing his family in adapting it. In 1908 Gandhi started to believe that ”European garments is no longer an idea of civilization ” (quote) so he begun to promote khaki (home spun cloth). Khaki didn’t became just a fabric but a way of life for many Indian people who started to making yarn at home later used for weaving. 

By wearing khaki Gandhi transcedented a costume that districts poor and rich, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh. He succeeded in developing his own langue which he expressed in his own dress understood by many people in the world.

I enjoyed the text because it show us how the particule dress can become a national symbol for that reason a part of the History of Dress. Moreover, and I think more important is that the text showed us violence of the Fashion Industry.


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