Bridal sneakers customised by Tiesta Sisters from Mumbai. Photo Courtesy: Tiesta Sisters
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Kajol Sancheti, a young bride hailing from Pune, is a nonconformist. For her wedding on November 29, she decided to make a fashion statement by donning bridal sneakers to the mandap. "From the outset, I had my heart set on comfortable footwear that enhanced my ease on the big day. What surprised me was how these bridal sneakers stole the spotlight, combining the best of a chunky yet glamorous look."
Kajol Sancheti, newly wed bride from Pune wears custom sneakers designed by Pallavi Rathi
The rising demand for bridal sneakers marks a contemporary shift in wedding fashion; tracing the evolution of style and a more relaxed approach to traditional bridal attire. "This trend reflects a desire for individuality and a break from conventional norms," remarks Tanushri Biyani - the founder of Mumbai-based sneaker design outfit: Anaar.
Bold, bejewelled, embroidered and yet functional - bridal sneakers redefine prosaic styles, carving out a niche among new brides. As the wedding season commences, Midday.com reached out to seasoned designers and brides passionate about all things related to bridal sneakers.
What is the hype about bridal sneakers?
Authenticity: In a departure from the ordinary, new-age brides are clear about convenience over traditions, thereby claiming their authentic selves. Pallavi Rathi, a sneaker design expert from Pune, who specialises in sneaker customisation at the parlife.in, tells Midday: "Modern brides are highly flamboyant and are well aware of what's in vogue. They know exactly what they want in terms of style, colour profile, comfort and the final look of the footwear."
Comfort: Renowned designer Neeta Lulla fully embraces the bridal sneaker trend, stating, "For someone who has been wearing boots under sarees since 1985, this trend perfectly mirrors my personal style." Brides are increasingly choosing sneakers as a stylish and practical alternative to traditional heels, allowing them to dance, move freely and feel comfortable throughout their wedding day.
Dance-friendly: While we all appreciate the confidence that comes with high heels, it's undeniable that they often bring discomfort. Brides in the modern era are opting for bridal sneakers to enjoy a night of dancing without the discomfort of high heels. To bridge this gap, Lower Parel-based Janvi and Helly Tiesta, popularly known as Tiesta Sisters, launched an online platform to rescue brides from the woes of towering heels.
Unique style: "Inspired by instances like Deepika wearing white sneakers with her red gown, we challenge the norm of changing from heels to sneakers. The idea is simple: why not have the same outfit paired with sneakers throughout the entire event?" remarks Janvi. This evolution signifies a departure from age-old expectations, embracing a new era where individual comfort and style take precedence over wedding fashion norms.
Biyani opines that brides today are not demure dolls. "They are not shy and coy, nodding to every decision made for her. Today, she is in charge of every detail of her D-day. Celebrating the essence of the maximum bride, by catering to her footwear lust - it is about time to swap out those stilettos for these cool kicks made for breezing down the aisle," outlines Biyani.
In the 21st century, brides are expressing clear preferences, igniting excitement, motivation and a drive for excellence among designers, as iterated by the Tiesta Sisters and Rathi. Customisation has given rise to a plethora of sneaker variations, influenced by factors such as shoe type, occasion, embroidery details and more.
Bridal sneaker styles vary based on different wedding occasions. For the Haldi ceremony, brides often choose vibrant and playful sneakers that complement the festive atmosphere. The Mehendiand Sangeet ceremonies witness a surge in demand for sneakers adorned with lively embellishments, sequins and floral patterns, reflecting the joyous spirit of these events.
Engagement ceremonies call for a touch of sophistication, with brides opting for sleek sneakers that emit elegance, shares Biyani. Finally, for the wedding day, brides often go one notch higher with statement bridal sneakers, incorporating intricate details that resonate with their outfits.
Bridal sneakers are also characterised by exquisite work details, showcasing the craftsmanship of designers. Embellishments, embroidery, sequins, floral motifs, kardana work, shimmering accents, salli detailing, acrylic cutouts, beads and modern thread patterns are just a few elements shared by Rathi that adorn these fashionable footwear choices. Each pair becomes a canvas for intricate artistry, offering brides a wide array of options to express themselves.
The trend of customisation in bridal sneakers is on the rise, with brides seeking personalised touches for their special day. Custom requests range from matching the sneakers with the lehenga to specifying heel heights for comfort. Sometimes brides coordinate their sneaker choices with their fiancÃ©'s height, to attain a balanced look.
Colour matching remains a popular request, allowing brides to seamlessly integrate their sneakers into the overall wedding palette, informs Tiesta Sisters. Some even go further by incorporating hashtags and wedding dates, adding a personalized and contemporary touch to their bridal sneakers.
For traditional brides who prefer a timeless and elegant look, classic white bridal sneakers are also gaining popularity. These sneakers seamlessly complement wedding gowns, offering a sophisticated alternative to traditional heels. The simplicity of white sneakers allows brides to maintain a classic aesthetic while embracing the comfort and modernity that bridal sneakers bring.
Designer sneakers undergo an intricate process to achieve the level of sophistication and artistry envisioned by creators like Biyani. The journey begins with the meticulous process of zeroing in on a festive inspiration, followed by moodboarding fabrics and embellishments tailored for each unique style within the collection.
Whereas for Rathi, the designing commences with a sketch work made for her bride's footwear. Once the bride has selected a sketch, they move on to selecting the shoe style. Rathi shares a list of materials that go into the making of shoes - Leather, leatherette, nylon, polyester and PU leather. The next stage is to then finally deck the shoe exterior with design and embroidery.
At Tiesta, the Sisters adhere to veganism in crafting sneakers. The materials they use include satin, cotton, faux leather and rubber for the heels and soles. The insole and cushion areas feature a soft cloth for added comfort. It's essential to note that their entire shoe-making process is hands-on, ensuring that each pair is meticulously crafted and made to order.
The handmade craftsmanship of each sneaker is a labour-intensive endeavour, with artisans investing between 35 to 50 hours in the creation of each pair. This extensive time commitment is a testament to the attention to detail and precision required to bring these designer sneakers to life. Every step, from the conceptualisation of the festive theme to the careful selection of materials and the actual crafting process, contributes to the creation of these studded footwears.
Pairing sneakers with bridal outfits
Pairing wedding sneakers with traditional South Asian outfits like lehengas and ghararas can create a unique look, blending the comfort of sneakers with the elegance of traditional attire, opines Biyani. Here are some suggestions for pairing wedding sneakers with specific wedding events:
1. Ghararas are known for their comfort. Select sneakers that maintain the comfort factor while adding an element of elegance, perhaps through metallic accents or subtle embellishments.
2. Haldi ceremonies are vibrant and playful. Opt for colourful sneakers that match the festive atmosphere. Yellow or floral-patterned sneakers can be a lively choice.
3. If your Mehendi outfit is relatively simple, use sneakers as an opportunity to add a pop of colour. Bold and vibrant sneakers can add excitement to your overall look.
4. Sangeet ceremonies involve a lot of dancing. Choose sneakers with good support and comfort, ensuring you can dance the night away without discomfort.
5. The after-party allows for bolder fashion choices. Consider sneakers with unique designs, bold colours, or even personalised touches for a fun and carefree vibe.
By following these simple guidelines by the experts, you can ensure your bridal sneakers stay in top-notch condition.
Cleaning: Start with the basics using a soft brush or dry cloth to remove surface dirt. For stubborn stains, create a mild soap solution and apply it with a soft-bristled brush, focusing on areas that need extra attention. If your wedges are suede, avoid water and use a suede eraser for marks.
Drying: After cleaning, let the sneakers air dry away from direct heat or sunlight to maintain their shape and colour. Insert shoe trees or stuff with newspaper to retain their form while drying.
Storage: Avoid the dreaded shoe pile by assigning a dedicated spot for your wedges, free from clutter and pressure.
1. Stick to hand cleaning, especially for materials like leather or suede.
2. Avoid wearing sneakers in wet areas or on wet lawns to maintain their quality.
3. For more thorough cleaning, consider dry cleaning your sneakers.
Dos and Don'ts:
Do: Choose sneaker embroidery wisely if you have a hard surface under your ghagra (skirt) to prevent damage.
Don't: Wear sneakers in wet environments as water can damage them.