Jutti Generation: Rohan Arora's ornate hand-crafted footwear brings the drama to any desi wedding
The wedding season is perhaps the busiest one for luxury footwear designer Rohan Arora, but we found him in easy spirits at his newly revamped Ballygunge flagship. “I think Ranveer Singh has really changed the idea of getting married! Everyone wants to go big,” he tells us. The label which started out out in 2010 has created a niche for luxe, high-end, hand-made footwear with a focus on homegrown artistry. So, what makes the designer such a steadfast success in the Instagram age? Here’s finding out:
Tell us about your newest line-up
Our most recent outings have shoes with hand-sculpted heels, the heels are hand-carved which makes them so exceptional and we have also got a couple of karigars from Kashmir and Jaipur.
What are the younger crop looking for, in festive fashion?
Something really fun and quirky, that stands out. We had done a small capsule collection a couple of weeks back, which is now completely sold out. We had featured Hindi gaalis on them! It's very young and anti-establishment and everyone is looking for it now.
You've re-defined the idea of ethnic mens footwear
Yes, I remember when we started out we'd only do men's wear on orders. 90% of men would ask me what would I wear it with? That has changed now in a massive way, and it shows.
Some of your shoes have an androgynous quality, both men and women can wear them..
Yes! It also gives us a broader spectrum. I see men ordering the shoes with the peacock embroidery on them. I remember we made these slip-on shoes with a Hindi quote on them and we sold 26 pairs to men and women after just one Instagram story.
You've never shied away from the drama...
OTT is having a moment and drama has always been a huge part of my brand and always will be. I was really young when I started out, I think I was 23 when my first fashion week happened. I had very little clue about what to do, I have never studied fashion at all. I actually learned shoe-making at a roadside factory!
When I launched Rohan Arora, our first collection had Hindi film posters on them, one of them had Veeru and Basanti on them. So drama has always been a crucial part of my brand and something that connects with the people
How would you say the language of your label has changed?
The element of quirk was always there, but now it's a lot more chic and timeless. The way we finish our shoes, the materials and the techniques we use, I can honestly say that it can he handed down to generations if taken care of.
Has social media helped?
Social media has changed the game completely, on so many counts. At times you don't even have to invest in a fashion shoot, you can just put up pictures on Instagram. Monetarily it has helped but plagiarism has reached its peak. In fact, a couple of months back, someone got us a pair of shoes which we have never made but it had the Rohan Arora label on it! We have started patenting all our designs since last year, any new design we come up with is patented.
Price starts at Rs 3,000