BENGALURU: It’s not every day that you can look down at your shoes and instantly feel your mood lifted. When was the last time you picked up a pair of slippers, intrigued by what went behind its making? Instagram-based footwear label GypSeek wants you to listen to the backstories of those who make their slippers.
“Our footwear is made by the women of the Maasai tribe. They are the Nilotic ethnic group of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, along the Great Rift Valley. They are best known for their distinct attire and stark jewellery. Every piece of Maasai artwork tells a story of status, history, wealth and place in life,” said Sindhu Sundaramurthi, who founded the brand last year with her friend Keerthy Kiran.
During her vacation to Kenya in 2013, Sindhu chanced upon African art in eco-friendly footwear and wanted to bring the age-old heirloom closer to everyone. Presently, Sindhu works with 10 women from the community. The collection ranges from humble flip flops to elegant gladiators. Using needles and remarkable precision, the beads are assorted by colours and stitched onto upcycled rubber used from old tires.
“The artwork is painstakingly done. We are proud to call these women GypSeek’s artists, and prouder that we are empowering women through this initiative. The most arduous part of the handmade footwear is making the flower, which is a kind of pattern in the beaded collection. A pair takes anywhere from five to six hours to complete depending on the bead work,” said Sindhu.
There are 12 models in different bead patterns available in size range 37-41. No two pieces look alike to maintain originality. The duo will soon add local paintings by African artists to their collection. “Although we give an overall idea of what sells in the market, the women are free to do it in their own style. We’re not reviving an art form here but merely making it accessible.
When I returned from vacation, everybody was excited to know where I picked up these slippers from. Now, it’s just a click away. The slippers bring in a boho-chic mood and go for all seasons. We will bring in more based on demand,” she said.
For details, visit their Instagram page: GypSeek