Çaplait Shoes: Supporting Ethical Fashion
We’re on a mission to preserve a traditional handcrafted sandal of Pakistan and support ethical fashion while doing so.
About this project
Hello! I’m Usman and I’m the Founder of Çaplait Shoes. We’re on a mission to preserve a traditional handcrafted sandal of Pakistan and support ethical fashion while doing so. But, we need your help.
The Peshawari Chappal, a traditional handmade footwear, is a fundamental part of Pakistani heritage. Once only worn in Pakistan, the Peshawari Chappal have now become increasingly popular and are worn by fashion-lovers across the globe.
We want to ensure that the cultural origins of the Peshawari Chappal are credited and preserved. That’s why our ladies sandals are designed in Britain and handcrafted in Pakistan, by artisans who are fairly paid for their craft.
In 2014, the Peshawari Chappal became the focus of a worldwide fashion debate when British designer Sir Paul Smith created a similar shoe, retailing at £300, which caused thousands of complaints on social media saying the shoe appropriated the culture and craft of its original Pakistani makers. After a strongly supported petition towards the designer and UK government, the shoe’s description on the website was changed to say it was “inspired by Peshawari Chappal”.
As a British-born Pakistani, I want to combat the disrespectful stealing of cultural ideas in fashion without any due credit. The Peshawari Chappal is a sandal that I have fond memories of wearing throughout my life, at celebrations like Eid and family weddings as well as day to day. It’s my dream to modernise this traditional sandal: by maintaining the cultural heritage of Pakistan and introducing the shoes to women around the world who would love to wear them too.
We’re putting this dream into action through everything we do as a business; right down to our name, Çaplait. The Peshawari Chappal is called “saplay” by the local people in the region of Pakistan where the sandal originates. We wanted to honour Pakistani heritage by keeping the traditional name, while adding our own modern and fashionable twist with a French translation.
We currently have three core sandal designs for women: the Jisti, the Swati, and the Hara. Take a browse through our full collection – which would you pick?
As a special bonus for our Kickstarter backers, we have added these beautiful, hand embroidered Jisti Wall Hangers and Jisti Scarfs to our collection. These gifts are only available for our Kickstarter supporters and will not be sold elsewhere!
So, how did we create our designs? Traditionally the Peshawari Chappal is a man’s shoe, designed in plain, dark colours. We’ve adapted the shoes into beautiful, colourful designs that can be worn by women. We want for women wearing our shoes to feel like they’re giving something back to a culture, while owning a unique and special piece of fashion.
The designs have been inspired by traditional embroidery called Phulkari, a type of embroidery practiced throughout many regions in Pakistan. Phulkari emblems traditionally take inspiration from life in the villages, so typically feature geometric patterns from everyday life and motifs like wheat and barley heads. All of our sandals are handcrafted using the highest quality, genuine leather and suede, as well as being embroidered with cotton.
To bring our ideas to life, we’re working with renowned shoe designer Jessica Beecham. Born in Argentina, raised in London and trained in Italy, Jessica has been working in the industry for over a decade and brings a multicultural background and hybrid versatility to her designs.
If you have any questions about sizing, please email [email protected].
From the off, we are placing the Peshawari Chappal artisans at the heart of everything we do. The Peshawari Chappal would not exist without the multi-talented Pakistani artisans who craft them. This is not fast fashion. Our major motivator for this campaign is to ensure that the artisans are working in ethical conditions, are properly credited and fairly paid for their creations.
Handcrafted footwear is a dying trade. The artisans in Pakistan that we’re working with are worried that their craft, which has been passed down across the generations, is losing out to large commercial factories. By supporting Çaplait Shoes, you’ll be financially helping the Pakistani artisans to continue creating these beautiful shoes.
None of the work we’re aiming to achieve will be possible without the support of our Kickstarter backers, so to show our gratitude we’ve got some fantastic rewards on offer! Here are the rewards you’ll be receiving by pledging to support our Kickstarter campaign.
If we raise over and above our £10k target, here’s what we’ll be able to achieve:
- Travel to Pakistan to see our vendors in person and begin working on our Spring/Summer 2018 collection
- Build a larger team of passionate individuals to work in the Çaplait Shoes team
- Expand into a collection of men’s sandals, as we’ve already had many enquiries about this!
We’ve already had brilliant feedback from the designers, stockists and customers who have seen prototypes of our shoes and learnt about our company mission.
“It’s fresh! Very chic, comfortable and affordable all at once with a very beautiful story to tell.” – Jessica Beecham, Luxury Footwear Designer
“A passion for ethical production and appreciation of good design is rare in the fashion industry, Çaplait Shoes are a unique company” – Alice Selwood, Textile Designer
“In the current world of fast-fashion, handcraft skills are quickly being forgotten. I believe it is so important to hold onto these skills and introduce quality products back to the western market. I’m extremely proud to be a part of Çaplait as the goal is not only to create a brand of beautiful items, but also to give back to the communities in Pakistan who are blessed with these incredible skills.” – Charlotte Crombie, Textile Designer
“You just cannot ignore the brilliant creativity and imagination shown by Çaplait’s design team – a blend of modern and traditional design, while never forgetting the heart and soul of the Peshawari sandal.” – Anser Wasim, Director at Quadri Group
Here’s a little look at how we’ll be spending the money we fundraise.
All of our backers should expect to receive their rewards within three months of our Kickstarter campaign ending. Here’s our timeline of delivery for the project.
With special thanks to:
OK Production – Karachi Photography & Film
MASH Productions – Peshawar Photography & Film
Muzhaira Bibi – Scarfs Production Manager
Anser Wasim – Quadri Group
Salman Alam Khan – Video Editing
Allan Melia – Videographer & Editing
Lahcen Mellal – Model Videography
Charlotte Heather-Cray – Product Photography
Kirsty Furey – Product Photography
Ellie Rees – Social Media Management
Corrie Jones – Marketing
Ismail and Junaid – “Ranra”
Lastly, thank you so much to our backers for your support!
Risks and challenges
We’ve got a whole team of passionate experts working to deliver this project and have done everything possible to minimise the risks involved. We’re already working with a host of artisans in Pakistan who have been crafting Peshawari Chappals for decades and have implemented quality control throughout the process (however, as each item is handmade our backers should expect slight variations). We want to work directly with the artisans and factories, but travel to Pakistan is expensive. Exceeding our Kickstarter goal will allow us to visit the factories and ensure product development is running to schedule. We’ve calculated all of our shipping costs and fees in advance, so that there shouldn’t be any unexpected surprises. However sometimes goods can get stuck in customs, which causes delays and increases import duty rates.