Honestly, I am very much impressed by Paaduks’ entire brand. Their commitment towards sustainable fashion is applaudable, from designing to packaging they have taken care of everything. I just loved their idea of using up-cycled tires for making footwear. After reviewing their product, I felt that sustainability and a venture’s growth could go hand in hand, and a lot of big brands should definitely learn something from this start-up. Paaduks is not only not successfully making an attempt of eco-friendly footwear but at the same time providing fair wages to the local cobblers, it is trying to end the socio-economic problems existing in the community. They have already checked Sustainable Development Goals of decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequality, responsible consumption and production, life on land, and Partnerships to achieve the goal. Along with this, their product price is INR 799 or USD 10.74 which is way more affordable than any popular footwear brands in India that start with INR 1000 or INR 1500.
The footwear from Paaduks, is made from natural fabrics like cotton, jute, and other vegan material. However, the novel aspect is that all their soles are made from up-cycled rubber such as discarded tires of trucks and airplanes, used conveyor belts, old rubber mats, and so on. Up-cycling of discarded rubber to make soles does not involve any chemical process. Also, the dyes used for the footwear are vegan and vegetable dyes. The best part is that even the packaging they are using for the pair is eco-friendly.
The product is a combination of handcrafting and machine work; hence, providing livelihood to many independent daily wage-earning cobblers a stable income source. Therefore, we cannot see any factory environment scenario as it is not operating in a manufacturing set up and to keep the initial infrastructural investments low. The Paaduks team outsources machine work and later supervises the hand-done aspects of the shoemaking. It is also mentioned by Paaduks, that they have come across various socio-economic problems among the community where the wholesalers and retailers often exploited cobblers. The cobblers are given delayed and mere wages for all their work and hardships. Therefore, Paaduks is making sure that the cobblers are given fair and on time payment in their company as they are the backbone of their venture. They are strictly following the guidelines of international Fairtrade regulations, which I really loved about this brand. One more thing, I loved about this product is it also features traditional Indian prints such as Kalamkari, Ikat, Ajrak etc. which shows the cultural aspect of the brand and instead of looking for designs from outside they are keeping the traditional designs alive. With the handmade pieces, this brand embraces the imperfections and takes it as a normal part of human process where most of them are running after perfections.
Paaduks is a new Indian venture started in 2013 by a couple Jay Rege and Jothsna in Mumbai, India. ‘Paaduks’ is derived from the Sanskrit word which means footwear. As mentioned by its founders, Paaduks started to be more than an enterprise; it is a unique initiative that attempts making beautiful, handcrafted footwear from used automobile tires and sharing the profits with cobblers who make them. Paaduks has partnered with Ethico India, a platform that connects with social enterprises and entrepreneurs who impact the planet with sustainable solutions. Paaduks’ partnership with Ethico gave me full assurance that this brand is authentic and genuine because Ethico India’s founders had started a popular movement called ‘Mahim Beach Clean Up’ where both of its founders had started collecting plastics at the Mahim beach’s shoreline wearing reusable gloves which later converted into a large citizen movement. Today, through that movement more than 10,00,000 kgs of marine litter is removed from the shoreline. Ethico India, has also mentioned on their site that they only collaborate with the brands which use eco-friendly packaging and do plastic-free shipping. I have never seen two brands coming together and be so committed towards sustainability, they have definitely checked the Sustainable Development Goal number 17 by their partnership.