PUMA is widely known for its collaborations with designer biggies (case in point Alexander McQueen) and this time, they joined hands with someone much closer to home. Masaba Gupta, who is known for her quirky style, partnered up with the German sportswear brand and released 50 hand painted pairs of the Cali sneakers, all reimagined in her signature prints, pops of colour and neon accents. The aim of this capsule collection was to draw attention to mental health issues like anxiety and identity crisis, two problems that are commonly faced by millennials today (according to a 2015 study by the American University, USA ). ELLE talked to the designer about the creative process, her favourite way to style these shoes and how she deals with anxiety.
ELLE: What made you pick the Cali sneaker?
Masaba Gupta: PUMA wanted to reimagine their iconic shoe so they sent it to me and we put our thoughts together. In a way, the sneaker picked me!
ELLE: How was this collaboration different?
MG: This one speaks to a certain kind of audience and we have never done a sneaker or a hand painted piece of art before. Also, it is limited edition and very affordably priced, which makes it perfect for millennials.
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ELLE: What’s your favourite way to style these sneakers?
MG: Apart from the usual sporty way, they look fantastic with a sari or a chikankari kurta.
ELLE: How do you manage to stay true to who you are, without conforming to social norms?
MG: The people around me, who keep me grounded and are my reality check, aren’t from the industry. They know the real me. Even though, I am a part of the social fabric, I never engrain myself into it too much. I lead a parallel, private life, that’s my real one. I just keep jumping in and out of the chaotic one.
ELLE: What are the ways in which you deal with anxiety? What advice would you like to give others?
MG: I get help, try to accept the reality and spend time talking about my feelings. I figure out where my thoughts are really emerging from. My advice would be-get to the root cause of the problem and always be in touch with the people you love. They can help you by identifying the issue. Social media makes you feel like everyone is leading a better life than you, so taking some time off helps. Always remember, the grass is greener on your side.