Just go for the juttis
We chat up the Chhabra sisters, who co-founded Pastels and Pop, a unique jutti brand that celebrates Indian craftsmanship with a contemporary feel
Have you ever wondered how conventional Punjabi juttis would look in cool trendy designs? Three sisters Neha Chhabra (30), Akanksha Chhabra (25) and Aarti Chhabra (23), who love designing, put their thinking caps on and created their brand Pastel and Pop (www.pastelsandpop.com) to offer customers new-age juttis that can jazz up any outfit. Having spent their early years in Punjab, the girls took a liking to these shoes, especially when their mom bought them colourful pairs. Their never-ending love for juttis led them to establish their brand, which completed three years recently. The sisters give us a peek into their journey so far.
Vibrant and colourful
When today’s women are so obsessed with heels and sneakers, why did they decide to make juttis? Akansha says that back in 2014 when Neha was about to get married, their natural inclination towards designing and dressmaking inspired them to create and design all their outfits and the wedding trousseau from scratch. “We brought our sister’s dream wedding outfit to life. We received innumerable compliments for our clothes and shoes. That’s when we realised that there’s a huge dearth of quality designers in ethnic wear in Bengaluru and other South Indian cities. We went about doing our research, and, in July 2015, Pastels & Pop (P&P) debuted with its first ever jutti collection,” says Akansha.
While making an attempt to revive the age-old techinque of jutti making and crafmanship, they make sure their designs are vibrant, fresh and new. However, none of them are professional shoe designers. Akanksha holds a Bachelors in Engineering and even worked for a software company before launching their brand. Aarti holds a Bachelors in Business Management but creativity is her forte. “She’s (Aarti) amazing at sketching and art. I come from a highly technical background. Having worked at some of the largest tech companies in the Bay Area, California, I understand the process of startups and I am usually the bridge between technology and design. Our mutual interest in clothing and accessories led us to setting up Pastels & Pop,” adds Neha.
Juttis for everyone
P&P’s USP is the versatility of their juttis. Aarti says that their collection caters to a wide age group of women. While some of their juttis are all about elegance, some are downright funky. “You can have a pair of P&P juttis for any occasion! Our juttis are double cushioned and made by some really talented artisans and that’s why they are comfortable with great finishing. We’re one of those companies who actually believe that ‘the customer is queen’ and take their reviews very seriously,” says Aarti.
Talking about creating a blend of Indian sensibilities and Western contemporariness in their designs, Neha points out that they want their products to be a natural extension of the person and the outfit she is wearing. “Elements like colours and embellishments are carefully chosen, so as to give a seamless sartorial experience,” she adds.
The inspiration behind the juttis, according to the founders, are the various schools of embroidery from all over India. Akansha likes to clarify that it is also inspired by the outfit they have in mind to pair the shoes with — be it a lehenga, suit, or a pair of jeans. “A lot of elements go into making our shoes — pearls, zardosi, zari, silk threads, zircons, sequins, kat-dana, and many more. We choose different combinations of elements which contrast/ complement each other. Apart from designs with elegant embroidery, we also design juttis with gorgeous floral and even abstract prints. These are your everyday juttis that can go with jeans and dresses,” says Akansha.
P&P caters to women of all age groups and have juttis for everyone. “We’ve got kids’ juttis, juttis that come in bright colours and embroideries and funky prints for the ladies, and also subtle and timeless juttis with neutral base and pearl embroideries for older women,” adds Neha.
P&P also believes in giving back to society, hence their ‘The Gift of Shoes’ initiative aims at bringing smiles on the faces of the less privileged. “Last Diwali, we visited an orphanage in Bengaluru to share the festivities with the little girls. We were moved by how our juttis could bring such joy to the little ones, hence our Pastels and Pop initiative was born. Thereafter, for every five pairs of P&P footwear sold, one brand new pair is gifted to a child in need across India. Our entire team is very proud of ‘The Gift Of Shoes’ initiative,” concludes Aarti.