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kantha

kantha or kheta (India, Bangladesh) patched and quilted traditional textile from the eastern Indian subcontinent made from discarded saris that are layered and secured together with a classic Indian running stitch sewn in parallel lines, swirls, or pictorial motifs; known as kantha in Bengal or kheta in rural areas. The running stitch provides structural reinforcement throughout the layers and adds surface texture and decoration. Made entirely of reused cloth, kantha, which means rags in Sanskrit, is used as a quilt, a wrap, or folded as a bag. Despite its humble word origins, kantha itself transcends class and caste. In a clear reference to kantha, ancient legend describes Buddha and his disciples warming themselves with discarded rags patched and stitched together. (1997) See also Shuktara

khadi

khādī or khadi (India) Indian cloth woven by hand using handspun fibers; India’s “fabric of freedom.” Traditionally, women spin the fibers and men weave on a simple treadle loom at home. Mahatma Gandhi promoted the production of khādī in his campaign for Swadeshi and the revival of indigenous goods during India’s independence movement. By spinning, weaving, and wearing their own cloth, Gandhi reasoned Indians could assert their economic independence and regain control of their textile industry from the British. It is the product of a humble profession, yet painstakingly made all by hand and therefore deserving of high value. At dosa, khādī is the basic language of weaving. We use khādī every season for its nuanced aesthetics, and because it is a labor-intensive rather than resource-intensive material. Christina visited her first khādīgram shop in India in 1996, loading her arms with stacks of assorted handwoven fabric. Over the years, dosa has used a mixture of this sort of off-the-shelf khādī in addition to custom khādī developed with weavers in Bengal. Our organic khādī shows variations in color, texture, and weave, which serve as small reminders of its handmade, natural state. (1995) See also gamcha; handwork

krishnaseyes

Krishna’s eyes (India) glossy enamel paste-on eyes applied to idols of the Hindu deities. In India, every Hindu home has an altar graced with idols of the gods and goddesses: Krishna or Lalji, Shiva, Rama, Hanuman, Amba, Durga, and Radha. At the market, Krishna eyes are sold as a pair, their pinkish color giving the illusion of realness. dosa uses Krishna eyes in necklaces and bracelets. (2011)

kurta

kurta or kurti (India) loose fitting, knee or calf-length tunic with a round neck, slightly flared hemline, two side pockets, and slits at the hem. Cleverly designed, the garment pattern makes the most economical use of fabric when strategically laid out for cutting. Commonly worn in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, the kurta is perhaps the simplest thing for men and women to wear in most of the Indian sub-continent. It is one of dosa’s staple silhouettes. (1995)