It’s been one year since we launched the Hawa Sandals in collaboration with New York based multi-disciplinary artist, Saks Afridi. What a memorable experience it has been! To celebrate the first anniversary of this wonderful partnership, we decided to relive the journey with you through this blog.
November 5, 2018. Saks reached out to us on Instagram, asking if we could collaborate on creating a one-off art piece. He had a specific design in mind and wanted to discuss it further. His concept was to create a “winged chappal, a sci-fi Hawayee Chappal like a mix of Icarus and Kanye.”
He had an exhibition at the Aicon Gallery in New York in January, 2019, for his project called “SpaceMosque” and thought the chappals would be a great addition to it. The SpaceMosque project revolved around Sci-fi Sufism and the concept of a Spiritual Machine landing on Earth from outer space, and answering one prayer for each human being on the planet every 24 hours.
He shared some reference images with us of what he had in mind and we loved the idea! Moulding the Peshawari Chappal into a one-of-a-kind art piece was something that had never been made before, and to be the pioneers of such a design was such a thrilling thought.
It took us about a month and a half from research and development, to finalising the design, materials and making the exhibition pair. The winged chappal was twice the size of our existing Kaptaan Chappal and we had to get customised shoe boxes made for it when we shipped to Saks in New York.
The Winged chappal was on display at the Aicon Gallery from January to February, 2019.
The concept behind the chappal was really interesting, too!
May 2019. Saks reached out to us again, mentioning that the chappals were a huge success and that the viewers loved them! Here was his second proposal in the collaboration: what if we made a wearable version of the winged chappal? We were up for it!
Before things proceeded, we needed to decide a name for the winged chappal. After much contemplation, we agreed upon a name, the Hawa Sandal.
Then came the part to make the wearable version of the sandal, a strenuous process that took a lot of patience and time. We’re so happy that the efforts of the entire team proved to be a success!
The first (and the main) step was adjusting the wings in a way that they wrapped around the flaps of the Kaptaan Chappal. For this, we decreased the size of the wing and went down to every millimeter to make sure it wrapped the chappal like a glove. There were two sets of wings, the bigger one that went to the back of the chappal and the smaller one that fitted on top of the bigger wing. Finding the perfect size for the wings took us over a month to finalise.
After that, we had to test our leather for laser engraving, especially the white leather. The pattern of the wings required further adjustments to cater to the laser engraving.
For the exhibition, we had made the winged chappal with a leather sole but Saks wanted to give the wearable version a sneaker sandal feel, that’s why we went with the EVA sole we use in our Markhor Chappals. We decided on an all-white sole for the white Hawa Sandals and an all-black sole for the tan Hawa Sandals.
Which coloured buckles did we go with? After discussing with the team, and with Saks too, we agree to have a bronze coloured buckle on the tan sandal, and a silver coloured buckle on the white sandal.
We got a custom brass stamp made with the collaboration name engraved in it that we used to emboss the insock for the Hawa Sandals.
Since these chappals were limited in number, every pair was embossed with an edition number. For this, we got numbers carved out of brass that we used to emboss the numbers on each sandal.
July 9, 2019. The final pairs of the Hawa Sandal (in both tan and white) were put into process for the product and model shoots. One set was used for a shoot in Lahore and the other in New York.
July 24, 2019. Two pairs of Hawa Sandals (in white and tan each) were shipped to Saks in New York for photoshoot and promotions.
July 31, 2019. Saks sent us a video of his friend, Inam Malik trying out the Hawa Sandals in New York.
August, 2019. Product and model shoots took place in both Lahore and New York simultaneously. Saks pointed out during the shoot, the wings were flapping too much from the ends. To fix this problem, we added a hidden magnet in the lining of the wings to hold them in place.
Sept 12, 2019. The Hawa Sandals were officially launched as a unisex limited edition product, of 100 each. These were on pre-order and made on order.
Within 24 hours, we had our first pairs in both colours sold, in both the male and female versions.
Imran Qayyum from Ontario, Canada, bought the first edition of the tan Hawa Sandals. He later bought the white version in October as well.
First women’s pair in tan was bought by Rachel De Nys from Washington, US.
Inam Malik from New York, US, bought the first edition of the white Hawa Sandals.
Farvah Shah from New Jersey, US, bought the first women’s white Hawa Sandals.
July 2020. Saks wanted to go a step further with the Hawa Sandals and proposed that we launch a black version in it, too. And we did! With the launch of the all-black version, we ended the phase of the white and tan version being a limited edition footwear.
Lisa Gold from New York bought the very first pair of the All-Black Hawa Sandals.
This collaboration with Saks has been a joy and we got to experiment with many new techniques and learned so much during the process. Here’s to more great memories in the future!
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