Footwear celebrates Indian summer
Indian sandals and footwear are becoming the prime pick of summer fashion in the West.
After Indian cuisine, films and fashion, it's now footwear that has caught the fancy of the swish set who are trading in their high-heels and pointy shoes for comfy open sandals, juttis, kolhapuris and bejewelled slip-ons, all with the quintessential 'Made In India' tag!
The stores are brimming with Indian flat footwear and so are online agents, according to Washington yuppie Thanga, a salesgirl at Bloomingdales.
'A pair of Kashmiri juttis at Bloomingdales costs $180 while a pair of Kolhapuris at Macy's costs $75,' she says.
'The rise of the flat has to do with the fact that Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Mischa Barton, Kirsten Dunst and Lindsay Lohan practically live in theirs,' Thanga told IANS.
'I think it has to do with the changes in the season,' she says.
'The days are getting longer and your feet are longing for summertime freedom. After torturing your toes all winter with high-heeled, pointy boots constricting your feet it's finally time to give them some time on flat ground and your toes a chance to breathe in the spring air,' says Thanga.
And thus, shoe stores and shoe garages all over America and some parts of Europe are actually enjoying the best of summertime shoe bliss.
For instance, in New York there are Matt Bernson sandals.
At $90 a pair, these are comfy, airy and marvellously hop, skip and jump kind of footwear that your feet will never get tired in. The sandals are a take off on the single toe and broad strap of Indian slippers that have been made into a design called ' Zanzibar'. They are simple, casual, walkable, wearable, refined and fun.
It all began when Matt, a native New Yorker with a penchant for international travelling, came across the 'perfect' sandals while vacationing in India. He brought them back and wore them to death and wondered why he couldn't find beautifully simple sandals over here in the States, says Thanga.
So Bernson decided to do something about it and launched his company that makes elegantly designed sandals that reflect his ethnic but still city-savvy aesthetic.
All of the sandals are 'soulfully made in India,' which means they are produced by well-paid workers, using only the best leathers and materials. The footwear is advertised as Indian-inspired flats that make you comfortable and get you to keep walking.
Then there are juttis, both Kashmiri and Punjabi, studded, embroidered, bejewelled, both closed and flip-flop, for the summer. Again they begin at $80 and go up to $300.
'I think it's a case of Indo-Western fusion kicking it off and actually making a statement with yuppies and even the fashion conscious,' says Thanga. It's obviously a case of Indian practicality meeting Western street chic! If your feet can look 15 even though your face looks 50, its time for an invasion of Indian flats.