It’s common knowledge that wearing natural fabric such as linen, cotton, mulmul and khadi is great for the environment- These fabrics, unlike their synthetic counterparts such as polyester, are biodegradable and easier to dispose of. But apart from being eco-friendly, what immediate benefits do these natural fabrics hold? What is so special about them that we have fallen so irrevocably in love with them? Natural cotton based fabrics like khadi and mulmul are true godsends when it comes to curating a summer wardrobe, being especially ideal for harsh Indian summers. Ready to switch to a natural, breezy style? Read on to know more!
Indian summers can be quite brutal, causing not just discomfort due to heat but also dehydration, heat stroke and a host of different skin issues. The kind of fabrics you choose to wear are an important factor when it comes to protecting yourself from heat and sun damage. Cotton has an extremely high capacity to absorb moisture. This means that when you wear cotton clothes during summer, it absorbs sweat and keeps you feeling cool and fresh. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics absorb negligible moisture, which means the sweat stays onto your skin, which can cause many issues ranging from minor, temporary ones such as discomfort, stickiness and body odour to major health issues such as prickly heat and sun burn. Cotton is essentially what we call a ‘breathable’ fabric, which allows your skin to breathe and stay fresh. It does so because it is porous in nature, and thus air and moisture can pass through it easily. Quite the holy grail fabric for summers we would say. No wonder that Mughals and the British became quite enamored with this magical fabric when they moved base to India and had to experience our harsh summers.
The way that our ancestors and invaders experimented with this magical fabric not only gave it a rich history and identity, but also resulted in the eventual evolution of many variations of cotton such as mulmul, or as the European traders called it, muslin, as well as the fabric that played a key role in our freedom struggle, khadi.
Mulmul is an extremely fine and soft version of cotton invented centuries ago by the weavers of Bengal. In fact, it is so soft and airy that it is also commonly known as woven wind, allowing the wearer to breathe freely and keep cool, even on the hottest of days. Due to this unique quality, it was an expensive fabric in the Mughal days, flaunted usually by Royalty. Under British Raj, Bengal began producing high quantities of muslin to be imported and muslin became a popular trade item in Europe. Even today, although widely available and not as expensive, mulmul remains an exquisite part of our cultural heritage. Similarly, we are all familiar with Khadi’s rich history, especially Gandhiji’s affinity towards it. This simple, homegrown fabric became a symbol of our freedom struggle. Gandhiji advocated the use of Khadi because not only was it comfortable to wear, but could easily be spun at home, and we could finally go without having to rely on British mills for our fabric needs. Even today, Khadi holds strong patriotic sentiments and endures the values of austerity, nationalism and self-reliance.
When you wear cotton, khadi or mulmuls, you aren’t just contributing to the environment or staying cool during summers, you are in fact, embodying the rich heritage and values that these fabrics stand for. This indeed is the reason, why even in the 21st century we continue to be enchanted by these fabrics, leading them to find a special place in our latest summer collection, and hopefully in your hearts and wardrobes!