This gender-neutral footwear label is inspired by Tokyo's street style culture
Though androgyny is riding high in the global fashion spectrum, the Indian mainstream circuit is yet to catch up. But Noida-based footwear label JVAM is making way for gender non-conforming styling options; the brand which was inspired by the very Instagrammable Japanese street style culture, features a range of gender-neutral Venetian slippers, flats, lace-up boots, elasticated pumps, cowboy boots, and much more. The line-up has been designed with a focus on inclusivity and intends to break away from the boxed up conformity which comes with gendered styling.
We spoke to Raoul Mehra, the mind behind JVAM, to get some perspective on his vision and Gen-Z’s evolving fashion needs:
Tell us how the idea of gender-neutral footwear came about
Research and development for JVAM started in 2017. The first collection for wholesale was up in 2018. The brand stands for inclusivity and the idea is to encourage people to get out of their comfort zones, allowing them to express themselves however they want.
Tell us something about your lineup
Since its launch, JVAM has been retailing various types of shoes, Pillow Crossbar sandals, Slippers and Woven sandals to name a few. We also plan to introduce new styles soon. We aim at bringing in more styles into the collection, diversifying it into season-based footwear and we want to evolve with new advancements in technology and styles.
JVAM shoes have been made using Sacchetto and Bologna constructions. Basically this is what gives the shoes their softness and comfort. It means that there are no hard components, and the shoes are 100% flexible. As you wear them they mould to your feet and become more ergonomic.
What inspires JVAM’s aesthetic?
JVAM stands for Japan Vanilla Moon. I have always been fascinated by the street style culture in Tokyo and how forward the transition of fashion is. Taking cues from blurring gender identities when it came to fashion, I decided to venture into the territory of making gender-neutral shoes as well. Besides, these designs were easy enough to execute with minimalist styles, I decided to take the plunge and take his idea forward.
Tell us about your client base? Is it mostly young people or is it diverse?
For JVAM in India, the market is quite small. Currently, there is only real scope for these products in the tier-1 cities. That said, people today are more open to new experiences, and I want to give them something they haven’t seen before. Competition is tough, but it is important to embrace your uniqueness as a brand and stick to your core belief. For me, that is emphasising inclusivity and comfort. The reason I started JVAM is to get people to think a little bit differently about what they wear, and to send a message to people who are afraid to express themselves that it’s okay to be different from the mainstream.
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