Beautiful, Exquisite, Ethereal Punjabi Jhuttis, Mojaris, Nagras!
Punjab has a rich history of arts & crafts. Like many other handicrafts, Jhuttis- Mojaris are famous world over. Natively “Jutti” (also spelled as Jhutti, Juthi, Juti) is an Urdu word for a shoe with a closed upper attached to a sole. It is worn mostly in Northern India but thanks to the digital world, the product seems to have found its admirers all across the country and overseas.
This traditional footwear is primarily made of pure leather and has magnificent embroidery and embellishments that give it a royal appeal. From day to day wear, weddings, religious occasions, to parties and festivals, Jhuttis work great at adding a tinge of stately queen ship to your attire.
Culture of Jhuttis-Mojaris-Nagras: It was first patronized by the Mughals, extremely popular amongst Kings and Queens who belonged to the majestic era of Indian history. The style of Jhutti back then was far more ornate and rich in texture and design which incorporated fine gems, stones, tinkelets and precious pearls. With the passage of time, Mojaris-Nagras shoes gained a lot of popularity in Punjab and underwent various forms of trials and innovation.
The Juttis with M-shaped front are known as ‘Panna’ which is intricately embellished or designed with similar patterns on the side and back of the shoe. Nagras, on the other hand, had a soft -rounded front which is closed and resembles the modern day ballerina footwear.
Most of the designs are inspired by Mughal architecture and Rajasthan’s rich princely ethos. From hand-painted to embroidered, sequined designs, Jhuttis are gradually taking over contemporary styles. Some of them come with a pointed and curved nook in the front which is for men, while the ones for women have a simple and plain rounded or squared front. Jhuttis made for men usually have a single patterns.
Apart from the traditional thread, bead work, motifs and images; Jhuttis now are also being stylized with a modern twist using cartoon characters, retro images and doddle art.
Jhuttis are a perfect grandiose option for world famous ballerina shoes. Jhuttis or famously called ‘Mojaris’ have a worldwide fan following especially in countries like US, UK, Canada, Pakistan, Middle East and Europe.
A lot is being done by countries and the people to foster and promote art & culture of Punjab & Rajasthan. Young entrepreneurs, fashion designers have come forward and are doing a wonderful job to elevate this ancient art through modern techniques, styles and global propositions.
One such budding entrepreneur is Bhumika Mehta, founder & owner of Brand “Panache- An Élite Affair”.
POW WOW with Bhumika Mehta, Mojari Designer & Artist of “Panache-An Elite Affair”:
1. Tell us something about the label “Panache-An Elite Affair” and how did it all start?
B.M: I am an arts graduate from Delhi University, India. Post my grads, I joined the banking sector and worked with one of the top banks in Asia for about a year. It was during this period that the entrepreneurial bug to launch my own label hit me. I believed that my creative instincts and skills were good enough for owning a label. Hence, I bid adieu to my budding career and stepped into the shoes of an entrepreneur and “Panache- An Elite Affair” was born.
2. What’s your connect with this line of ancient trade and how are you different from others?
B.M.: Well like they say, every girl or woman has fetish for shoes, mine was no less since childhood. I loved dressing up in traditional Indian attires and my footwear had to be something striking. When I first wore my Punjabi Jhutti, there was strange feeling of royalty and elegance that left me wonderstruck. And rest is history! I’m glad Panache An Elite Affair is doing every bit possible in nurturing and evolving different shades of the product line.
Punjab & Rajasthan are the two main states from where this trade originates. At Panache An Elite Affair, we research, analyse different markets and the cult of contemporary products lines in shoe business to try and produce different collections that suit the wide band of traditional to global consumers. Some of our collection is unique and intricate in its styling and undoubtedly best in quality.
3. What is your distribution model? And how has the response been?
B.M.: We operate via offline and online platforms as far as product distribution and marketing is concerned.
We’re close to two years now in the business and have received an overwhelming response. We have loyal customers both in our home country and overseas. We are in process of expanding our network through more collaborators and partners to cover length and breadth of the country and overseas too.
4. Can you tell us about the markets you are present in nationally and internationally?
B.M.: Like I mentioned before, currently we sell online through our e-commerce portal www.panachehub.com and have a main retail store in New Delhi, India. The retail expansion plan to cater to Indian cities is already in pipeline and soon, we shall have stores opening in other cities.
Internationally, we are selling via various boutique stores in Dubai (UAE), Calgary (Canada) and London. We are also available on various online wedding portals and are listed as an authorized wedding vendor.
5. How do you see “Panache- An Elite Affair” fairing in International markets?
B.M.: To be honest, I was initially sceptical about the demand that Mojaris would generate in international markets. But with the online boom in India and globally, the world is a small place now with a lot of exchange of global products creating a market for themselves across borders. We have Indian customers staying overseas and international customers who are a big fan of Indian traditional items. Infact, Mojaris are popular in the international scenario as the festivities go beyond cultures and religions.
For More Designs of Traditional and Cultural Mojaris visit “Panache-An Elite Affair“.