Madhubani Oxfords and Mughal art pumps, Kanvas has got the artsy footwear memo down pat
Mumbai-based footwear label Kanvas acknowledges the timeless relevance of native heritage artisanship, which heavily features on their line-up
The first time we spotted Kanvas’ mud red Oxfords featuring traditional block prints, we knew the brand was going places. The Mumbai-based footwear label has a huge focus on reviving heritage art and craft techniques and is the perfect manifestation of Gen-Z’s persistent need to connect with their own roots and homegrown artistry. Komal Panchal, the designer and founder for the four-year-old label talks to us about how she connects age-old techniques with contemporaneity, and what she’s planning for her newest collection:
Tell us how Kanvas was conceived
When I was studying fashion, I also took a deep interest in Indian textiles and one of our subjects involved art revival, where we had to visit a city to learn its indigenous art. We had to use that in contemporary terms to make something that's wearable and modern. That's how I was inspired, you'll see our line-up has a huge focus on homegrown art forms like Madhubani and Kalamkari etc. Even the block-prints are made in NGOs near Ajrakhpur and Bagru where they are all made by hand.
We use Ajrakh, Dabu, Kalmkari, Madhubani we also do Gond art and use kantha, so we do work with a lot of traditional weaving techniques.
Tell us about the new collection you’re planning...
Yes! This winter we're planning a new collection which is focusing on Indian painters and their work and this could get really interesting; it’s still under works and will be launched shortly. Our last collection was all about Ajrakh and we explored that more broadly.
Kanvas is very niche, no one in the country seems to be doing something like this in footwear...
It's been four years now and we're already on all major e-commerce platforms and people know about what we do. When we use hand-woven techniques or native art forms, it's often difficult to explain to the clients why our product is different, why it is priced a little higher. And that has always been there, but people who appreciate the nuances and the painstaking effort which goes behind it, they love it.