Step by Step: The traditional Punjabi jutti has gone bespoke and designer
Shopping for her trousseau a little more than a year ago, Gurgaon-based Shirin Mann Sangha was clear on one thing. Unlike most brides, Sangha didn’t want to pair her wedding lehenga with stilettos. As she scoured markets in Punjab, Delhi and Mumbai for traditional Punjabi juttis, it all came down to pairs that were either too plain, boring or simply uncomfortable. “I decided to get one made that matched my outfit,” says Sangha, who hunted down a craftsman in Delhi for the job.
Sketching out exactly what she wanted, she finally got her pair. “Before I knew it, I was a jutti designer,” she laughs. She rolled out her bespoke jutti label, Needledust (www.needledust.com) soon after and began retailing through fashion portal Exclusively.in. Four months ago, she opened doors to her first studio in Delhi’s Shahpur Jat. “I realised there is a demand for designer juttis that don’t just look good but are comfortable to wear too,” explains the designer who uses pure leather, double padding and fabrics such as brocade, velvet, silk to trimmings such as ghungroos. Interestingly, these juttis, including those with vintage prints, are being teamed with not just ethnic ensembles. “Most of our clients wear them with maxi dresses and jeans,” says Sangha.
That’s something Mohali-based designer Sahiba J Singh agrees with. One of the first to offer bespoke juttis in Punjab, Singh dishes out soft velvet juttis in a colour of one’s choice, adorned with delicate thread work. She has even paired her juttis with her riding breeches and continues to wear them with Western outfits. “Initially juttis came in either black or tan leather. These days, the options have increased as everyone wants something unique,” she adds.
To make the jutti more appealing to youngsters is another Delhi-based brand, Fizzy Goblet (www.fizzygoblet.com). The juttis, designed by Laksheeta Govil, are made of pure leather soles and back, canvas fronts with a splash of colour or original print work. While the season’s latest — an ikat collection — is truly trendy, their printed juttis are quirky. Interestingly, Govil took to designing juttis as she too wanted a customised pair.
Elsewhere, in the heart of Patiala’s bustling old market, Adaalat Bazaar, known for traditional phulkari dupattas and suits, the jutti has a new look. From plain uppers, the footwear now comes with serious embellishments such as dabka, zardozi work and phulkari too. For those looking for some fun, there’s a jutti with a high heel as well. The demand overseas, says Chandigarh-based designer Rupam Grewal, has led to the revival of the jutti in a new look. Recently, she too has forayed into shoe design and has been stitching up bespoke shoes and juttis for brides under her label, Jaamawar Minx. “Earlier the jutti could never be customised, but now karigars are willing to incorporate everything from logos to embellishments,” says Grewal. Customisation is definitely the key.