In an attempt to boost the production and market of Kolhapuri chappals, the Maharashtra State Khadi and Village Industries Board has recently conducted a workshop for representatives and artisans. According to the participants the workshop was not a successful bid as it focused on digital marketing rather than the actual grievances of the chappal makers. And here comes another attempt to revive the dying legacy. The state government is planning to conduct an in-depth research and will soon start the process of obtaining a patent. The research will be conducted by Kolhapur’s Shivaji University.
Subhash Desai, Maharashtra State Minister for industries, was recently quoted saying that it is sad that chappal makers have been struggling for the past few years to keep the market alive. We would do anything and everything to help them and the first move would be to get a patent. The state government also plans to explore the digital market
Over the past few years, the traditional industry has seen a huge decline majorly for two reasons. Firstly, due to the increase in the production of fake Kolhapuri chappals from the North and Karnataka and secondly due to lack of interest among the buyers. Also, with the government’s ban on slaughtering of cows and extending it to bulls and bullocks has impacted the supply of good leather which in turn have impacted in the drop of business by 50-60 per cent.
The Kolhapur chappal makers have applied for patent in 2011. They claim patenting will help to curb with the issue of duplicate Kolhapuri chappals circulating in the market as they are made with either cheap leather or plastic and are available at cheaper rates. Patenting will also help in brand placement not only in the country but around the globe as the makers provide good quality leather at nominal cost. Recently, MP Dhananjay Mahadik lifted the patent issue in the Parliament during the discussion of the Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill 2017.
The chappals are handmade and since ages the tradition of making them are passed from generation to generation. But taking in consideration the decline in demand and drop of business, there seems to be threat to the legacy of Kolhapuri chappals.