India is celebrated for its rich cultural heritage, and a significant part of this heritage is reflected in its traditional fabrics like Khadi and Handloom. These fabrics not only carry historical significance but also showcase the country's skilled craftsmanship and centuries-old textile traditions. However, there's often confusion between Khadi and Handloom, so let's explore the key differences between the two.

What is Khadi and Handloom?

What is the Fibre used in Khadi and Handloom?

Khadi: Khadi primarily refers to hand-spun and hand-woven cloth made from natural fibers like cotton, silk, or wool (although it is mostly synonymous with cotton). The hallmark of Khadi is its production process, emphasizing manual spinning on a charkha (spinning wheel) and hand-weaving, often using raw materials in their natural state. In sum - Khadi is both hand-spun and hand-woven.

Handloom: Handloom, on the other hand, refers to a broader category that includes fabrics woven entirely by hand or on manually operated looms. These fabrics can be crafted using various fibers such as cotton, silk, wool, or blends. In sum - handloom fabrics are only hand-woven.

How to distinguish Khadi and Handloom:

To an untrained eye, both Khadi and Handloom fabrics look similar - but there are differences which one must appreciate while purchasing these fabrics.


  • Irregular Texture: Khadi fabric often has a slightly coarse, uneven texture due to its hand-spun and hand-woven nature.

  • Visible Imperfections: Look for small irregularities or slubs in the fabric, which are characteristic of Khadi due to its handmade process.

  • Minimalistic Designs: Khadi fabrics often sport simpler designs, solid colors, or subtle patterns. They lean towards minimalism and showcase the beauty of simplicity.

  • Natural Colors: Traditional Khadi fabrics usually come in earthy tones or natural hues due to the use of natural fibers.


  • More Uniform Texture: Handloom fabrics tend to have a smoother and more uniform texture compared to Khadi.

  • Consistent Weave: You'll notice a consistent weave pattern without many irregularities or slubs, showcasing skilled craftsmanship but with a more even appearance.

  • Intricate Patterns: Handloom fabrics can feature a wide range of intricate designs, vibrant colors, and detailed patterns due to the diverse techniques used in handloom weaving.

  • Varied Color Palette: Handloom fabrics might embrace a more diverse color palette, showcasing a spectrum of vibrant shades and patterns.

Are there any certification for Khadi and Handloom?

Khadi Mark: Look for the Khadi Mark certification from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in India. To produce Khadi and label products as 'Khadi,' obtaining a Khadi Mark is essential. This mark ensures the authenticity of Khadi products and verifies that they are hand-spun and hand-woven. 

Handloom Mark: While no specific license is required to practice handloom weaving in India, certain government initiatives and certifications like Handloom Mark promote the authenticity and quality of handloom products.


Both Khadi and Handloom hold cultural, historical, and economic significance in India. While Khadi represents a specific ideology of self-reliance and sustainability through handmade textiles, Handloom encompasses a broader range of handcrafted fabrics.

Whether you're fascinated by the rustic charm of Khadi or the diverse textures of Handloom, both fabrics stand as testaments to India's craftsmanship, weaving stories of tradition, skill, and cultural richness.

Remember, while purchasing these fabrics, supporting authentic artisans and ethical practices helps in preserving these age-old traditions for generations to come.

January 05, 2024 — Earthy Route

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Are there specific benefits to choosing Khadi or Handloom products over machine-made alternatives?

Choosing Khadi and Handloom supports sustainable practices, local artisans, and preserves traditional craftsmanship compared to machine-made alternatives.

Do Khadi and Handloom fabrics have specific care requirements?

Yes, understanding and following specific care requirements ensure the longevity and preservation of the unique characteristics of Khadi and Handloom fabrics.

Can Khadi and Handloom fabrics be customized or tailored for specific needs?

Yes, customization and tailoring services are often available for Khadi and Handloom fabrics to meet specific preferences or design requirements.

How can consumers actively contribute to the preservation of Khadi and Handloom traditions?

Consumers can contribute by choosing authentic products, supporting artisans, and raising awareness about the importance of preserving Khadi and Handloom traditions.