It’s always exciting to dress up for a wedding or traditional occasion. But let’s be honest, constantly moving around and dancing in heavy suits and lehengas can get tiring, which is why the correct footwear is so important. Most people opt for stilettos because they are easily available and match your Indian look. But after a point (read five minutes), your feet start hurting and it makes you so uncomfortable you can’t enjoy the occasion. Kolkata-based designer, Shruti Kasat understood this very common issue that so many women face, which is why she introduced sneakers into bridal and festive wear with her label, The Saree Sneakers.
Giving a desi twist, the sneaker designs feature intricate hand embroideries like zardosi, chikankari and gota patti work. And the best part is that you can also customise your own pair to match with your existing outfit. We caught up with Shruti who told us all about her uber-cool label, sneakers and more.
ELLE: Can you talk about your inspiration behind The Saree Sneakers?
Shruti Kasat: Fused identity is what most urban Indian women identify with. We love to blend things; dhoti pants, culottes and kurtas, shirts as blouses etc. Just like that, being a sneakerhead, I wanted to wear sneakers with everything. Being a mother to a toddler I was to attend a family wedding and had no intentions of wearing heels. I needed my comfort and style. In my failed attempts to find sneakers that I could wear with my ghagra and saree, the idea for The Saree Sneakers was born. When I made the first pair and wore it for a wedding, it was an instant hit and the rest is history.
ELLE: With comfort being of the utmost priority now more than ever, have you seen a huge shift from stilettos to sneakers in wedding wear in India?
SK: Comfort is definitely the key today and I think it is here to stay. It is a shift, just like when women got rid of corsets. Most of our clients are brides. They want to be comfortable on their big day. They want feather-light ghagras and sneakers. Our brides thank us and tell us about how much they danced at their own wedding.
We’ve also have had girls buy them for sangeet/cocktails but have ended up wearing them for all functions. Not having to open your heel in the middle of the dance floor is a blessing. The Saree Sneakers is a huge leap towards comfort and style going hand in hand. Though it is not running with the current trends of sneakers internationally, we feel it is a style to stay. We have had wedding clients with three generations wearing our sneakers.
ELLE: What are the current buying trends? What kind of sneakers do people opt for?
SK: People love to go all out. They want the shiniest and blingy ones. The goldens and silvers are the classics as these colours match with all Indian outfits. The brides opt for custom-made sneakers matching their outfits. We also add wedding hashtags, initials, wedding dates, etc on the sneakers. Hot and vibrant contrasting colours are a clear trend for this season. Bolder is better.
ELLE: How can one maintain these sneakers well and ensure they last longer?
SK: We use a lot of silks on our sneakers but we also try and substitute certain material to make them more cleaning-friendly. We ask our clients to wipe the shoes with soap and water solutions. One tip that we give our clients is to use shoe protector sprays; these are really helpful and make the sneakers last longer.
ELLE: How do you plan on expanding The Saree Sneakers in the future?
SK: We plan to explore more in the fields of footwear and accessories. We have many new ideas that interest us in this zone and we are working towards exploring that. Redefining stereotypes is what we like to do best.