If designer Shruti Kasat could change one thing about her wedding, it would be the footwear she wore for the ceremonies.
A self- confessed sneakerhead, Shruti, who has now started a brand called The Saree Sneakers, wishes she had these options then. “The idea behind this brand is to get sneakers in to the Indian wardrobe,” says the designer. And so, adding a touch of bling, intricate handwork and embroidery and of course memory foam for comfort, she rolled out her collection. There is a conscious effort to showcase different art forms and materials from India on these footwear. There is chikankari embroidery on cotton; laces made with organza that have gota on them.
Interestingly, 30% of her clients are brides. “We are doing shoes for grooms as well and sisters and friends of the bride,” Shruti says.
Right now, The Saree Sneakers is matching bridal outfits with sneakers. There have also been instances where they have had to customise pairs to go with a bride’s jewellery. “We sourced emerald look-alike stones for the sneakers to go with her emerald set,” says Shruti. The other funky trends include embroidering the couple’s initials or surnames on either pair or writing words like patakha or dulhaniya with colourful thread.
The shoes might be flamboyant and loud but they are also versatile and can even go with a pair of jeans and shorts.
“We are vegan so the sneakers are not leather,” says Shruti. The work is mostly done on black or white shoes to make them wearable with a large palette of colours.
It has become trendy to wear sneakers for sangeet and mehendi ceremonies and some brides even wear them on the day of their wedding.
“They want the quirky element. They are not shy to embrace the unusual any more,” says Shruti, adding that some credit also goes to celebrities such as Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone who wore sneakers at their wedding after-parties. There really is no fixed age group for her clientèle. “I even have 50-year-old women with back issues or those who cannot wear heels, buying my shoes,” she adds.
This is not just a passing fad, believes Shruti. “It is here to last given the comfort sneakers offer. Especially when everybody wants to dance, chill and have fun.”
She has now started planning her sari according to the shoes she decides to wear for an event. “And it is the same story for a lot of my clients,” she laughs.
The Saree Sneakers is available via its Instagram page and on websites like Pernia’s PopUp Shop.