Make Sneaker India: The Brand That Is Redefining Custom Footwear
Read on to know more about Make Sneaker India, a venture that promotes customisation, personalisation and artisanal Indian craftsmanship by creating one-of-one, unique sneakers.
Graduating with a degree in Industrial Design from MIT Institute of Design, Arghadeep Sarma is a Jack-of-all-trades when it comes to constructing and creating things. Having worked on numerous projects that vary from building custom motorcycles to art installations at some of the biggest music festivals in India, Sarma is now forging forward in his latest venture of custom-built and designed sneakers, aptly titled Make Sneaker India.
An avid shoe enthusiast since childhood, Sarma reveals that while he does have a soft corner for sneakers, his love for footwear transcends to all kinds of designs and styles - a contributing factor to creating his current customisable label.
It was after many a sleepless night, tossing and turning, trying to figure out the best way to cop a pair of the latest Jordan 1's in India, that the designer realized that custom building and creating a personal pair might just be the next best thing!
Citing the rising popularity of hype and sneaker culture in India, Sarma says one of the main reasons behind starting the brand was being able to provide people with something they could call entirely their own - a personal one-of-one piece, in times when exclusivity means everything.
Sarma's foray into creating sneakers began from his background in building the aforementioned custom motorcycles. The idea of creating a personal product is something that resonated with the designer which further led him to explore his artistic inclinations with painting and personalization sneakers and following the work of some customizers globally.
Make Sneaker India talks about "creating art in footwear". It is a label that aims to represent art in the form of a sneaker or shoe. Sarma explains his ambition of wanting to provide a platform where people can explore their inspirations and create something unique that transforms an ordinary pair of kicks into something truly special.
Expanding on the creative process behind designing and building these custom kicks, Sarma explains that people can come with an inspiration or idea and everything from the base materials to the finishing touches can be specified by them. Opening an experiential store/studio space in Pune soon, people will be welcome to walk around, see and touch the materials they would like to include before deciding anything - making the experience all the more personal and immersive.
Sarma reveals that the concept is divided into 3 sections primary. The first is the in-house design collection which features a limited number of 15-20 new pairs that drop every month under the Make Sneaker India original label.
The second includes creating one-of-one, personalized customs for an individual where the designer interacts with the client, understands what they want, helps them pick fabrics, finishes, soles etc showing design developments and creating the shoe from scratch.
The last section offers the chance to customise/reconstruct branded pairs of sneakers for individuals - playing around with the silhouette and materials based on what the customer would like.
Apart from creating completely original shoes under the Make Sneaker original label, the brand also offers customization services for sneakers of varying brands to their patrons.
Unlike custom clothes and accessories, the concept of handcrafted or boutique-made sneakers in India is a relatively untouched market as of now. Make Sneaker is trying to create a new niche with their venture and according to Sarma the initial response garnered by the brand has been very positive.
The designer does just as he says and a great example of his work is a customised Nike Air Max 90 titled 'Mekhela' due to the use of various traditional silks identified most commonly with the indigenous traditional Assamese dress.
Keeping in mind the fine line between cultural appropriation and appreciation, Sarma - who is Assamese himself - reveals his primary motive is to be able to promote Indian fabrics, heirlooms textiles and artistry. The traditional silk fabric used in the sneaker has been woven by craftsmen in Assam and has also been sourced from the town of Sualkuchi in the native State.
While the connotation of wearing a traditional textile on one's feet may be seen as disrespectful by some, the designer counters saying that the textile has been used in producing various goods and often souvenirs such as bags, clothes, accessories, etc. and this is just another avenue of bringing to light the craftsmanship and beauty of the textile while maintaining its origin integrity.
Another unique design in this ongoing series of Indian textile inspired customs is the Air Max 90 titled 'Karigar' that features luxurious brocade and Banarasi silk fabrics with Zari accents.
On upcoming future projects the designer drops slight hints towards a collaboration in the pipeline and says he looks forward to meeting, creating, and collaborating with creatives and brands all around the globe. On his take on the culture and what it means to him, Sarma's thoughts are pretty straight forward.
He further elaborates that he would like to contribute to this very narrative by giving back to the community that has taught him and given him numerous insights.
Head over to Make Sneaker India's official Instagram page to check out their design and get a chance to customise your very own pair!