Get to know the cultural significance of Punjab through its hallmark Punjabi juttis.
South Asia is a treasure trove of art and culture and home to the traditional fashion accessories of diverse cultures. One such beautiful accessory is the traditional Punjabi jutti. The traditional Punjabi juttis embody the vibrancy and richness of the Punjabi folk culture. Originally, these traditional Punjabi juttis, also known as khussas among the locals, were made from pure leather. Materials tend to vary today, but they are all still laden with patterns and designs that carry forward the same tradition.
Since the 16th century, juttis have been a symbol of Royalty among Mughals and Rajasthani royals in the Indian subcontinent. Rajasthan was a hub where the making of the exquisite Punjabi juttis first originated. The juttis used to have elaborate versions, heavily adorned with gold, silver, pearls and gemstones. They had intricate leather carvings and were also found with heavy embroidery and beautiful embellishments that gave them a unique appeal. The juttis also incorporated fine gemstones and pearls to exude the very essence of royalty. Such richness still exists in all its traditional splendour, but more practical designs with toned-down embellishments have emerged as well, which hugely diversifies the options today.
THE TRADITIONAL PUNJABI JUTTIS EMBODY THE VIBRANCY AND RICHNESS OF THE PUNJABI FOLK CULTURE
Making the Traditional Punjabi Juttis
Skilled artisans with years of experience in this shoe industry, generally hailing from Punjab and Sindh, handcraft Punjabi Juttis from start to finish. The making of juttis is a labour intensive job, but to ensure fidelity to traditional roots, it is necessary.
The first step in making a Punjabi jutti is creating a wooden template and inserting it in the shoe to ensure the correct shape and size. This template helps stretch the leather making sure there are no unwanted wrinkles. Like the Jutti itself, these wooden templates do not have a right or left. Instead, the front of the jutti is elongated, curved upwards.
DUE TO THE UNIQUE ARTISTIC CRAFT THAT GOES INTO MAKING PUNJABI JUTTI, THE PROCESS CANNOT BE ENTIRELY AUTOMATED
The Punjabi jutti can be divided into three sections: the sole, the front upper and the back. In Mughal times, different varieties and grades of leather were used for different parts of the Punjabi jutti. While leather is still used to manufacture traditional Punjabi juttis, new iterations have emerged that use alternative materials such as artificial leather, rubber, foam, hardboard and other fabrics.
Most Jutti production used to take place in relatively small family-run places, and it was passed down from one generation to the next. However, as times have changed and the demand for the juttis has risen, larger factory-like units have been established. But, due to the unique artistic craft that goes into making Punjabi jutti, the process cannot be entirely automated. If authentic quality is to be maintained in stitching and embellishment, it will always require the hand of the artisan. Hence, even as the production has scaled up, a well-made jutti still remains true to its traditional artistic essence.
MOST OF THE ORIGINAL JUTTI DESIGNS WERE INSPIRED BY MUGHAL ARCHITECTURE AND RAJASTHAN’S RICH FLORA AND FAUNA
To produce a traditional Punjabi jutti, the primary tools that the artisan uses is a cutter called ramba and a wooden mallet that serves to flatten surfaces and apply pressure. A foam sheet is marked for cutting out a layer of padding for the sole. Only tough materials like leather are used for the sole. The artisan then sticks together the layers that make up the insole, padding and sole of the jutti, adds a foam cushioning to the sole of the jutti, and skims off the leather tips of the sole to attach the uppers. Next, stencils are prepared for the front piece or the upper of the shoe for cutting and tracing of designs. Afterwards, a layer of fabric is stuck outside the upper and is trimmed to adjust the size. Different types of stencils create different punched designs.
Women artisans tend to do embroidery and add embellishments on the upper of the shoe based on the required design. Men do the cutting, assembling and stitching of the jutti. For the back of the jutti, a cardboard sheet is stuck to the leather to improve its stiffness. In line with the design, another sheet of leather or cloth is glued to the free side of the cardboard. The Upper and the hind part are then sewed to the sole of the shoe using a traditional cotton thread. Finally, the jutti is stained or painted as per specifications, and it is ready to be worn.
Punjabi Jutti Styles and Inspiration
There are several different styles and designs available in the market when it comes to Punjabi juttis. Most of the original Jutti designs were inspired by Mughal architecture and Rajasthan’s rich flora and fauna, and it clearly shows in the intricate patterns. Some of these design variations include Shahi Jutti, Tilla Jutti, Kasuri Jutti and more.
Shahi Jutti has a spade-shaped sole and usually a pointed tip at the top that may or may not be curled. This style was famous amongst Mughals and later on became the evergreen high fashion in weddings. On the other hand, Tilla Jutti consists of intricate zari work that is often supplemented with golden thread work. These juttis are not only fancy but easy to wear and walk-in. Other Juttis that have Tilla work include Lakhi, Milan and Khussa Juttis.
PUNJABI JUTTIS ARE NOT THE USUAL RETRO TREND THAT DISAPPEARS WITH TIME, AND NEEDLESS TO SAY, THEY ARE HERE TO STAY
Another type of Punjabi Juttis is the famous Kasuri juttis. These juttis feature a unique toe indent design and were directly imported from the Kasur district of Pakistan in the past but are now made in Punjab. They have also absorbed a very Indo-modern twist in recent years, which further adds to its novelty.
Another top favourite variety of Punjabi juttis is the Floral hand painted one. As the name suggests, these Juttis feature simple hand-painted designs of everything relating from flowers and truck art to other forms of modern artistic expression.
Punjabi juttis come in a range of colours, designs, shapes and sizes. They never go out of style and continue to evolve whilst remaining true to traditional roots. Punjabi Juttis are not the usual retro trend that disappears with time, and needless to say, they are here to stay. The success is also a testament to the creativity and artistry of the designers and craftspeople who think out of the box to create designer jutti collections that go from elegantly ethnic to eye-catchingly bohemian.
Atiya Chauhury Your One-Stop-Shop for all Styles of Traditional Punjabi Juttis
Atiya Choudhury — a famous Birmingham based brand — brings cultural Punjabi juttis to its customers in the most authentic way. Our passion for traditional embellishments like Zardozi, Sequins, Pearls and Embroidery combined with elegant sophistication is clearly defined in our best selling Traditional Punjabi Juttis. They are a perfect treat for your feet and are sure to become the prettiest of your Jutti collection. Our luxurious Juttis are handcrafted to perfection, and each Pair is uniquely crafted with great attention to detail. So, get your Juttis now and make full use of its flexibility to complement diverse wardrobe options, from a tee-and-jeans look to wedding outfits. It is sure to make you ready for every occasion, and you will radiate an aura of quintessential Punjabi vibrance.