Fashion label to know: Nagaland’s Kaka Sumi has our attention
These boots are meant for walking AND gawking at
Everything about Dimapur-based designer Kaka Sumi and his eponymous footwear label is an anomaly. He says his education in fashion limited his imagination instead of sparking it. In fact, even the word about his brand launch in 2017 got around after mass at his local church rather than social media. This unusual beginning, his dramatic designs with unconventional materials like jute, and his aim to perfect his craft, have brought him fashion’s attention. Next, he plans to expand into lifestyle products and even has an upcoming capsule clothing collection in collaboration with Ivy & Kay, a Goa-based label. Here is a look-see into his creative process:
ELLE: When did your love for shoes begin?
Kaka Sumi: As a young boy, I had always been interested in the art and pop culture of the ’90s, and my love for the Spice Girls—especially Victoria Beckham—got me obsessed with heels. Through foreign publications, I learned about the existence of master craftsmen like Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo. From here, I started picking up the basics of design, human motion and how shoes affect one’s gait. By the eighth grade, I had begun crafting shoes with paper, and by the tenth grade, I was a popular miniature shoe craftsman in school.
ELLE: Tell us about your collection.
KS: This is my first ever line, which is titled, ‘Golden classics and forgotten tales’. It is full of evergreen styles, such as mules and strappy stilettos, which re-emerge with finer cuts and lines.
ELLE: How long did it take to develop the perfect shoe shapes?
KS: It has taken six years of back and forth with the manufacturing industry, and ripping apart hundreds of shoes. Then begins the trial process with friends and family.
ELLE: Take us through your design procedure.
KS: It begins with visual inspiration, then intense thought processing before it lands on paper. Then, it moves to material sourcing and strategic placement. The heel is preselected so that the collection can have consistency. The entire process is done by hand.
ELLE: How do you define success personally, and for the brand?
KS: For me, it’s the possibility to materialise an idea into an object of beauty and desire. As for the brand, being recognised, at the moment, would mean a great deal.
Photographs: Bajirao Pawar
Assisted by: Jyotsna Kanal (Art direction)