From utility to fashion, footwear always adds that extra element of pizzazz and elegance. It is a strong creator of first impressions and has the versatility to mold itself as per the changes in time. It is, after all, the most sought after fashion accessory in the world. Add an ethereal handmade touch to it, and it brings out the best in footwear. Because as they say, if you are not comfortable in your own shoes, then they are not handmade bespoke.
Jodhpur being a city full of colors has a craft culture which is as important to their economy as tourism. The mochis or cobblers of Jodhpur craft leather into light and intricately embroidered footwear, locally known as mojari or pagrakshi. They are cut using traditional patterns that make no distinction whatsoever between the left and right foot and is shaped using the three-piece traditional wooden cobbler’s anvil and stitched with thick cotton threads. The mojari best showcases the traditional footwear of Rajasthan and represents their culture.
Kolhapur chappals are flat, intricately patterned, handcrafted leather footwear traditionally made in Kolhapur in Maharashtra by the Chamar community whose hereditary occupation is tanning and leatherwork. Originally, the footwear was made for daily use by farmers and field workers but the simple ingenious design has gotten global appeal over time, some of the best types being Awazi (which makes a crisp sound while walking), Shahu and Suraksha Puda to name a few. The cords used to stitch the sandals are made of leather and, surprisingly, no na
Kutch Leathers Works
The Dalit Meghwals of Rajasthan migrated to Kutch, bringing a beautiful leather crafting artform with them. The trade was kept alive by a mutual partnership with nomadic pastoralist Maldharis. When a Maldhari cattle died, the Meghwals used to convert the raw hides into leather. By recycling the dead cattle, the Meghwals used to transform waste it into a product of great utility. Kutchi leather used to be so well-treated and durable that it could even hold water! As such, it was made into long-lasting items like shoes, water bottles, horse saddles and water jugs. The artisans used real silver thread to bind pieces of leather together some time in the past.