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A note on the issue: The (missing) mega brand

Why haven’t we created a homegrown footwear label to sit alongside the Jimmy Choos and Christian Louboutins on shelves?

Kooltex trainers from Flatheads
Kooltex trainers from Flatheads

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Fashion has dominated most conversations for the past few weeks—first, there was the FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week, followed by our interview with the designer Sabyasachi. All that talk of clothing brought us to the question: Why doesn’t India have a well-known, luxury shoe brand? After all, factories in many parts of the country craft shoes for some of the biggest fashion houses and our local cobblers are wizards at adding miles to a pair of old shoes with carefully placed stitches and fixes. 

Also read: Where is India's ‘it’ shoe brand?

Why, then, haven’t we bridged this gap and created a homegrown footwear label to sit alongside the Jimmy Choos and Christian Louboutins on shelves? Our cover story delves into the question and finds that there are quite a few reasons, starting from the difficulty of constructing a shoe—which not too many designers are experts at—to deep-seated prejudices about working with footwear. We meet the young designers who are making the effort to design and manufacture shoes for Indian feet.

Also in this issue is a profile of Ultrahuman co-founder Mohit Kumar, the man behind the company making the continuous glucose monitors that everyone seems to be wearing these days. Kumar isn’t just happy to make devices that people use to monitor the effect of every single thing they eat and every step they take in a day. He now hopes to make wearables as ubiquitous as personal computers.

Elsewhere in this issue, we begin the first of a series where authors shortlisted for the 2022 JCB Prize for Literature discuss their work and writing. This year, the shortlist comprises entirely of translations, so both author and translator will talk about their collaboration—sometimes running into years—and the trust required to retell a story in a different language.

Apart from our usual recommendations on what to watch (going by our reviews, I am putting Joyland on my list), buy (if you need a reason to shop, it’s vegan month), read and enjoy, we also have a list of the best YouTubers to follow if you are intrigued by the nuts and bolts of music and want to teach yourself to play an instrument.

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Also read: The misleading echo of a heartbeat

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