Story of KARMANTIK – An organisation which is bringing traditional footwear to the forefront
We all understand the importance of footwear. Shoes, Boots, Sandals and Chappals. There is always a pair, carefully designed for every occasion and situation. But behind this essential commodity lies another indispensible asset without whom, the footwear might never exist – The craftsmen and shoemakers.
Apoorva Kamat and Sruthi Nivedita Kamde met at the Young India Fellowship Programme. While studying they came upon the idea of exploring the footwear industry in India. They realized that the Indian craftsmen who can work magic with leather are falling prey to mass produce of industrial giants and fail at the global market. Thus, to give the craftsmen a competitive edge and market their goods at a bigger stage, they came up with a business venture called Karmantik.
Karmantik brings together gifted shoe makers from across the country. They handcraft a pair of comfortable and traditional pair of shoes, reminiscing the culture from the interiors of rural India. They are ornamented with woven thread work, hand prints and block prints instead of the usual digital prints. Every design is unique with an undertone of Indian tradition. “Karmantik works with a twofold objective. The primary one is to support the traditional Indian shoe makers by giving them fair market price and introducing their authentic designs to the global market; the other one is to create a market for handcrafted shoes that are comfortable and at the same time, good-looking and vibrant”, says Apoorva Kamat.
Karmantik, which is just six months in operation, has made its mark in the market with its limited edition footwear made from artificial leather and fabric curated from different weavers and artisans across India. In these six months, they have been able to bring together around twelve shoemakers from Delhi and Haryana. All the designs are one of a kind and are available on Karmantik’s website.The efforts of Apoorva and Sruthi in recognizing this fading art of shoe making and steps taken to revive the same by bringing economic sustainability and acknowledgement in the lives of the shoemakers deserves an applaud. Apoorva also told TOC that they are gradually planning to expand the work environment that they provide to their craftsmen into production centres all across the country, opening up avenues of employment for thousands. At a time when industrial goods with massive financial backing are capturing the markets, Karmantik is incessantly trying and successfully delivering a perfect combination of trend and tradition, by bringing the soul of the sole back.
SHIULI BHATTACHARYA | TOC
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