If you keep abreast with everything happening in the world of fashion and beauty, you”ll know how the ‘homegrown’ tag, showcasing Indian textiles, embroideries, craftsmanship, and expertise, is gaining global recognition. From anarkalis to lehengas to beauty and skincare, ‘Make for and in India’ is becoming the norm. Needledust is one brand that has championed this idea in the Indian footwear category. Founder Shirin Mann Sangha took the humble jutti and gave it a new lease of life by creating versions that were sturdier, more comfortable, and featured beautiful fabrics and patterns. Handcrafted and hand-sewed by artisans, the label launched in 2014 and is today not just a celebrity-favourite – Sonam Kapoor wore it for her wedding, and 150 pairs were designed for Deepika Padukone’s mehendi gifting at Lake Como (there was even an exclusive Needledust juttis pop-up at Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jones’ wedding in Jodhpur) – but also a must-have in wedding wardrobes.
Sangha has also collaborated with different fashion labels and used Needledust juttis as a canvas to interpret different design ideas. The line with Arpita Mehta came out in 2017, and last year saw an association with Abu Jani- Sandeep Khosla.
And as would-be brides prep for the wedding season, Needledust has once again collaborated with couturiers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, to create a stunning new collection that is bursting with bold colours. With the line hitting stores this week, we chatted with Sangha on how she created this mini empire and why a Needledust juttis are a must-have.
On the undying popularity of juttis
Juttis have become a necessity for Indian brides. They are the equivalent of the ballerina shoe, and that gives them international flair. Juttis are versatile and can be worn with your shorts, dresses, saris, and lehengas with aplomb. They stand out and make a statement.
Why Needledust is popular
We are the first jutti brand to revolutionise the handicraft for the international market and the high street. Needledust juttis embody design and comfort, and there are a number of designs brides can pick from. We are unique and with every collection we launch, we experiment and challenge ourselves. The new Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla line that we just launched has back fringes, tassels, and more – things we have never done before. To do that in any form of pattern or embroidery is very difficult. This season, we also showcase lustrous raw materials, Japanese beads, and play with lot of shapes. From the necklines of our juttis to using different bases like pure suede and silks, this a collection unique.
On the new AJSK line
This is the second season of the collection with Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, and this time, it’s all about candy, lustrous materials, fringes, and using gota in different ways. It embodies the glamour of the modern Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla couture – glitz, neons, tassels. The back tassels and the fringes that we have done are something we have never done before and they are absolutely stunning.
How does one take care of juttis
Do not wash your juttis or brush it. All juttis are made with pure fabrics, so you need to dry-clean the juttis only and keep them away from moisture and water. In case of contact with water or moisture, sun or air them for at least five hours (don’t pack them in boxes immediately). Store them in a dust bag.
Our essential Needledust signature juttis always do well. Our ‘Forever Yours’ gold jutti with the ghungroo is still one of my favourites and a long-standing bestseller. The designer collaboration with Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla is extremely special and widely loved. In the festive season, the fuchsia, reds, and oranges really do well too.
Favourite celebrity Needledust versions?
The one which Priyanka Chopra wore on her wedding day, the ‘Metallico’, was extremely special for us; Priyanka also wore Needledust on her engagement. Another favourite was when Sonam Kapoor wore us at Cannes. And of course Deepika Padukone, who wore the juttis to her wedding and we did her mehendi giveaways.
How to pick the right jutti?
A lot of people opt for golds and silvers because they are versatile, but I would say experiment with pop colours. One can try contrasts like pink with ivory or gold with neon green. So experiment with colours and designs instead of going for the usual.
All images: Courtesy Needledust