By Taj Nabi Khan & Raiq Qureshi
ISLAMABAD, Jan 26 (APP):Peshawari Chappal, an internationally popular traditional footwear of Pakistan takes its name from the city of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtukhwa — the chapel is actually the word for flip-flops or sandals.
People in Peshawar call it “Peshawari Chappal Tsaple or Saplay”. The Chappal is used by men either casually or formally with Shalwar Kameez in place of sandal or slipper in Pakistan.
It is semi-closed footwear which consists of two wide straps where both strips are joined with the sole by crossing each other. The back side also has a strip with a buckle to tie according to the foot size and level of comfort.
The Chappal is traditionally made of pure leather with its sole often made of truck tyre which refers to a large number of variations ranging from a tyre of sedan car to the tyre of a 4×4 off road jeep. The footwear is available in many traditional designs and colors with variations such as works of golden and silver threads, which give it a more elegant look.
Peshawari chappals have become increasingly popular in different parts of the country — even wearing them with jeans has become a fashion trend, especially among the urban youth. With the increase in access through e-commerce websites, it is now being revitalized with new designs in many cities of the country and internationally.
The average price of a good chappal is around Rs. 2,500 (US$16). But it can be high up to thousands of rupees according to the demand of the material and quality of tyre for making the sole.
The upper part of the Chappals is made from soft leather which is sewn onto the rubber tyre sole usually. The materials are cheap, easily available and very hard wearing. Intricate designs are added to the leather upper before the shoe is put into a mould which stretches it to size.
In March 2014, Peshawari Chappal became the center of a global fashion debate when Sir Paul Smith made a similar shoe, which sold for £300. This prompted complaints on social media that this appropriated the culture and craft of its original Pakistan makers.
Over a thousand petitioners used Change.org to ask the designer and U.K. government for remedy. As a result, the shoe’s description on the Paul Smith website was changed to read that it was “inspired by Peshawari Chappal”.
A new version of the chappal known as ‘Kaptaan Chappal’ became very popular after it was gifted to Imran Khan by Haji Nooruddin Shinwari in 2015. Like Punjabi khussa, the Peshawari Chappal had also made its position in wedding wears for men with sherwani or shalwar kameez suite for Barrat.
Talking to APP, Haifz Saadullah of “Khan Shoe makers” in Rawalpindi said that, after launching of Kaptaan Chappal, the style has become very popular and almost every young boy loves to wear the thick tyre sole made chappal resembling the chappal worn by the Prime Minister Imran Khan in his daily routine.
Many fashion brands in Pakistan, such as Mochari and Chapter 13 have started making Peshawai chappals for women. Although traditionally worn by the men of the region, the unique style of the chappal has piqued the interest of a large number of Pakistani women. As far as the demand of chappal for women customers is concerned, the cahppal is manufactured in many colors and designs to meet the matching tone of ladies shopping choices for casual and functions wear.
A shopkeeper in Islamabad said that among women, especially the university going female students, the Peshawari chappal has become an essential part of dressing in summer as well as in winter. The demand of chappal gets increased on Eid’s to prepare themselves for the occasion with matching suites and chapples. He said some of the famous shoe brands in Pakistan like Stylo and Metro now have a wide color and design range of peshawari chappals to fullfil the needs of their female costumers.