Keeping in step with trends
Two young shoe-makers share the story of their brands and why it is important to dress up your feet
“A great pair of shoes adds character to your clothing and personality,” says 23-year-old Pune-based Naman Shah who started Cuero - Handcrafted Luxury, a made-to-measure bespoke leather shoe line for both men and women. An inherent passion for shoes imbibed from his father coupled with the big market for handcrafted leather shoes made him start Cuero last year. “I wanted to offer customised, affordable shoes with a ‘Made in India’ logo.
Naman showcased his creations at Lakme Fashion Week 2014 in collaboration with Quirk Box, where they presented experimental designs, which normally wouldn’t be available in stores but were wearable. Blending traditional technique with modern designs, Cuero caters not only to those who love classic patterns but also those who like to sport edgy colours and shapes. Whether you want a three-tone brogue, hand-woven moccasins or Jodhpuri boots, the idea is to understand the wearer’s personality and then suggest design possibilities.
Naman explains why handmade shoes are an ultimate luxury, “There are about 200 processes which go into a single pair of handcrafted shoe, including feet measurement, pattern making, leather cutting, stitching and soling.
It takes about a month to be made by skilled craftsmen. Cuero also does ‘custom lettering’ where one can get their name or initials embroidered either on the upper part of the shoes or gold, silver or bronze lettering on the sole.
For clients in other cities, Naman sends a video on how to take measurements at home.
“It was a challenge to convince people that an Indian company can manufacture fine quality handmade shoes but consumers are now open to unique luxury products and are appreciative of home-grown brands,” he says.
Scent and sole
Fragrant shoes! Sounds oxymoronic. Not to 23-year-old Delhi-based Karan Vij who recently launched Scentra, a unisex shoe line that comes infused with strawberry fragrance. The idea came about during his stay in California, “Just like we wear perfume to feel good, scented shoes keep the feet smelling fresh all day. It sounds exciting especially for sockless shoes. Scentra re-engineers the yarn and the outsole and dyes the scent in the shoes. Aimed at redefining the shoe experience, these casual slip-ons are eco-friendly and come in many quirky colours and with stripes, polka dots and florals.
Karan points out that more than the style factor, when it comes to shoes it is comfort that matters the most. “That’s why we call our range of shoes ‘bed for your feet’. We wanted to make comfortable shoes dressier and fun. We have put an extra layer of cushioning in the insole to make you walk that one extra mile. This is essential to walk in large office spaces and mega malls.” Does the fragrance last forever? “We have tested these shoes for a good time in Europe.
But in our weather condition, the fragrance might diminish with time but will not be completely lost.” Karan is happy with the response and excited that people are now open to innovation in every area. He has plans to launch a kid’s range and open flagship stores. But it’s one step at a time for Karan.