The cloth is usually woven from cotton and may also include silk, or wool, which are all spun into yarn on a spinning wheel called a charkha. It is a versatile fabric, cool in summer and warm in winter. In order to improve the look, khādī/khaddar is sometimes starched to give it a stiffer feel. It is widely accepted in fashion circles. Khadi is being promoted in India by Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises of Government of India.
In India, Khadi refers to handwoven cloth. Weavers prefer the yarn produced by Mills because it is more robust and of consistent quality. Swadeshi movement of boycotting English products during the first two decades of the twentieth Century was popularised by Mahatma Gandhi and Indian Mill owners backed Nationalist politicians who called for a boycott of foreign cloth. Gandhi argued that the Mill owners would deny handloom weavers an opportunity to buy yarn because they would prefer to create a monopoly for their own cloth.
However, handspun yarn was of poor quality and too costly. Thus Mahatma Gandhi started spinning himself and encouraging others to do so. He made it obligatory for all members of the Indian National Congress to spin cotton themselves and to pay their dues in yarn. He further made the chakri (spinning wheel) the symbol of the Nationalist movement. Initially the Indian flag was supposed to have a chakri, not the Ashoka Chakra at its centre. Mahatma Gandhi collected large sums of money to create a grass-roots organisation to encourage handloom weaving. This was called 'khaddar' or 'Khadi' movement.