The Kolhapuri revivalists

Updated: Nov 10, 2019, 08:00 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi | Mumbai

A footwear style from 13th century Maharashtra continues to embrace contemporary ideas thanks to these men and women

Aparajita Toor
Aparajita Toor

They say, originally the buffalo-hide Kolhapuri chappal weighed two kilos. Over time, the sole got slimmer, and the chappal, lighter. In a never-ending evolution of sorts, the ancient footwear worn by both men and women, continues to be painstakingly handcrafted by traditional craftsmen, but creative minds are giving it an avant-garde spin. Here’s a list of our favourites. 

Aparajita Toor

Classic styles in contemporary colours and cuts, Toor’s shoes are comfortable for all-day wear, thanks to the memory foam cushioning. Intricately handcrafted using quality raw materials by skilled craftsmen, we love their toe-loop style in pencil and wedge heels with fine details like tiny pom-poms or gold handmade threads. The style with embellishment heels are a hot favourite this festive season.

Price: Rs 2,999 onwards
Available on: www.aparajitatoor.com

Inmate

A chance encounter with an inmate of Yerwada prison, who made Kolhapuris for a living before he was jailed, motivated Divej Mehta to launch Inmate. Each pair is handcrafted by the inmates of Pune’s most famous prison with export quality leather paired against traditional hard leather, enhancing the quality. Memory foam adds comfort. The sole is lightweight and infused with rubber and leather inserts for good grip. Their bestseller is the British Tan, elegant and versatile. We’d wear it with absolutely everything.

Price: Rs 1,990 onwards
Available on: www.byinmate.com

Sound effects

Designer Preet Kaur uses a smorgasbord of embellishments including pom poms, shells and sequins to dress up her Kolhaupirs that are available in flats, block heels and wedges. But it’s the style with tiny ghungroos that we dig. Check out this delicious forest green pair.

Price: Rs 885 onwards
Available on: facebook.con/brandpreetkaur

Sulit by Hiral and Urja

Powder blue wedges, and pastels paired with golden details, Suelit masters the art of marrying Kolhapuri designs with other traditional crafts like kalamkari and hand embroidery in colours you cannot refuse. These pairs are every bit festive and can lift the style quotient of the simplest outfit. The Kolhapuri wedges with detailing on the heel has our complete heart.

Price: Rs1200 onwards
Available on: www.instagram.com/sulit.hu
Whatsapp: +91 7045406877

The Sole Sisters

An impressive range in pastels, metallics and neons made by second and third generation craftsmen from Kolhapur, this label is a fix of fresh colours for your sole. There are plenty of visually contemporary options in sandals, sliders and wedges, that carry the ethos of handcrafted chappals. The two-tone Kolhapuris and the wicker cane pair are styles they started with and continue to popular. They take customisation orders, too.

Price: Rs 2700 onwards
Available on: instagram.com/mysolesisters

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