BENGALURU: If there is one item that is loved by all, it is the ethnic, humble and colourful Kolhapuri chappal. Now, this footwear is all set to get trendy. With the Geographical Indication (GI) tag boosting its power, authorities want to promote the made-in-Karnataka footwear here and abroad.
Dr Babu Jagjivan Ram Leather Industries Development Corporation (LIDKAR) plans to help artisans export the chappals and also tie up with e-commerce giants.
The approval for GI tag was jointly received by Karnataka and Maharashtra recently for making these chappals. There is a perception that these artisans are from Maharashtra alone, but a large number of them are from Karnataka, and have been making these chappals for centuries.
According to LIDKAR officials, there are 5,000 people from villages in Belagavi, Bagalkote and even Dharwad making Kolhapuri chappals at their houses. Their market is restricted to nearest towns.
“As these chappals are made in both the states, Maharashtra and Karnataka jointly applied for GI tag last year and a few weeks back it was approved. With GI tag, these artisans get legal support. Anyone who is going to copy this can be punished,’’ K Thippeswamy, Chief Manager of LIDKAR, told TNIE.
These leather chappals are hand-crafted and tanned using vegetable dyes. The art of making them is passed down one generation to another. The traditional chappal making will get a modern touch. LIDKAR has in-house fashion designers who will design the footwear.
“Along with Visvesvaraya Trade Promotion Centre, LIDKAR will go to these villages. Each artisan will get an authorised user certificate for GI. With this, they can export chappals they make,’’ LIDKAR Managing Director H Nataraj said.
“We are approaching Amazon and Flipkart. Once we tie up with them, artisans will get a better market for their products,’’ officials said.