Karmantik is a social business that works with shoe making artisans to produce exquisite, limited edition Indian handcrafted footwear. The venture intends to encourage the craft of shoemaking and keep the legacy of this art alive by passing its knowledge forward to the future generations. It desires to provide these craftsmen the respectability, better working conditions, market and livelihood opportunities that their age old indigenous art truly merits.
Background of Hand-crafted Shoe Industry
Mochis or cobblers have traditionally belonged to the schedule caste and other backward classes spread across India and have been involved in the production of leather footwear. With the passage of time, many of these Mochis have become involved with other occupations due to lack of capital, opportunities and limited access to markets. A traditional shoe maker in Rajasthan invests 12 hours a day in the production of one “zamindari footwear”. This constant work with limited comfort in seating and poor lighting results in a severe deterioration of their health and well-being. These unfortunate circumstances have resulted in a loss of respect, dignity and finesse for this age old art. Many of these cobblers have fallen prey to the streets and are engaged in menial shoe-mending jobs with poor working conditions today. With the current scheme of things, finding exquisite handcrafted shoes made from the traditional designs, passed over thousands of generations will cease to exist if steps to revive the art are not taken immediately.
Vision and work
Karmantik’s vision is to foster sustainable livelihoods for shoe making artisans of India. By sustainable livelihoods they mean provision of primary income which meets their basic needs, sufficient employment and work hours and better working conditions. Karmantik aims at reviving this craft by making basic structural changes and modifying designs to suit the present urban market as old techniques of this craft have failed to match up to the current standards in the dynamic and competitive shoe industry.
We deliver the most exquisite and comfortable handcrafted footwear for shoe lovers. Currently, there is a huge market for comfortable and elegant day-to-day footwear as earthy and traditional designs are fast replacing the usual blacks and browns. The premium products of this social enterprise cater to individuals who fancy exquisite, handcrafted, comfortable footwear with unique designs. Each design is a limited edition piece which reflects the essence of Indian crafts such as hand block prints, kalamkari, Ikat and vibrant kutch embroidery in elegant and subtle patterns in the category of smart casuals and office wear. Karmantik embodies a brand that combines both traditional and urbane styles of footwear while focusing on comfort and quality and in the process providing multitudes of livelihood opportunities to its artisans.