• Navmalika Sidhu

FUNKY KALAKAR

Updated: Jul 6

What they make: Footwear, bags, wallets, laptop sleeves.



Started in 2017, Funky Kalakar is a global online brand that makes shoes and accessories using eco-friendly and upcycled material. With circularity, veganism, transparency and empowerment as its core values, the brand identifies itself as an artistic brand with an unconventional aesthetic that gives a contemporary spin to traditional Indian art forms. Funky Kalakar is one of the few Indian labels to be featured on Good on You, where it has been rated ‘Good’.





PRETTY FOR THE PLANET

4/5


The products are born of an intention to push consumers towards a more conscious lifestyle, through the use of natural, recyclable and upcycled materials as well as a circular business model that incentivizes the recycling of shoes and accessories. While the tops of the shoes are made of canvas, cotton and rubber, the soles are cut from discarded car tyres that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. So far, they have used as much as 1400 kgs of tyres. They use vegetable dyes to add colour to their eclectic range of products and also use PVC and rubber, which can be recycled eight times over. And they have been certified by PETA as not using any animal leather.


All their products come in pre-used, reusable, biodegradable boxes bound in biodegradable craft paper tape, with reusable canvas dust bags that can be repurposed. Everything sustainable and plastic-free. We love!


In an endeavor to promote circularity with their customers, Funky Kalakar has tied up with Recycle. Green, to help recycle or upcycle your worn-out shoes and bags, so they don’t end up in the trash. In return, you get a sweet 15% off your next Funky Kalakar purchase. It’s a win all around!


The brand not only markets itself as a global brand, but sales as high as 75% take place on the international market, causing concerns about the carbon cost incurred from the volume of exports. Perhaps a greater focus on the Indian market, which does have a gap in the segment, could help offset that.

PRETTY FOR PEOPLE

3.5/5


Transparency, empowerment and closing the gender gap are values that Funky Kalakar mentions in all their communication, but the specifics of how they achieve these are not as clearly presented. Their shoes are handcrafted by underprivileged cobblers in Mumbai, while the packaging is created by a fair trade-certified women’s self-help group, which works to empower underprivileged women. The company also provides a global exposure to their artisans as 75% of the company’s sale is derived from the international market. According to one report, to help their artisans cope with the setbacks of the pandemic, Funky Kalakar stepped up as early as April 2020, to donate all funds in excess of wages to these artisans. A big thumbs-up for that, while hoping they close the loop on the information gap, so customers can expect greater transparency on that front.

PRETTY FOR YOU

4/5


Smart, practical and chic, Funky Kalakar does not disappoint with their designs, which are created with a focus on comfort. Accessible as well as innovative, their shoes and accessories are minimalistic with a traditional flair, and cater to people with varied aesthetic sensibilities. However, they are limited in their designs and style of footwear.


Funky Kalakar's Go Zero initiative allows you to be more responsible with the disposal of your old, worn-out shoes and bags, which you can drop off or mail to their office address or select drop boxes, for recycling, and in turn, get a cool 15% discount coupon for your next purchase.