The shoe lovers that we are, we recently found our latest brand crush in the form of Dubai-based label CZAR. Designed using technical expertise & a thorough knowledge of craftsmanship, the CZAR line-up amalgamates comfort & design to create a striking pair of shoes, which are as timelessly elegant as they are versatile (We’re honestly in love!). The result of a well laid out thought process & planning, each pair incorporates immaculate attention to detailing (think one-of-a-kind cork designs, colourful tassels & luxurious suede inner lining).
Ecstatic to discover more about the incredible brand, the craftsmanship & the brand’s carefully imbibed ethos, we sat down with creative genius & brand founder Sundeep Sen to discover the CZAR journey, design process & what he has planned for 2018.
The CZAR Journey
Sundeep: My inspiration comes from London where I spent close to 5 years completing my undergraduate and post graduate studies. I always had a thing for fashion, but I have been an economic & corporate finance person. I first thought about shoes, because I’ve always heard people (mostly men) around me complain about them; they don’t get what they want, sizing is an issue, most expensive brands are uncomfortable etc. I took it up to study about shoe making as a passion, as I was still working in my corporate banking job. The journey has been mixed so far. CZAR launched about 18 months ago & I quit my job to take it full time since the past 9 months. I have 75% repeat customers which is great because they see value in a customized or personalized shoe but at the same time the market has been challenging and now I am looking forward to an exciting 2018.
The Many Sources of Inspiration
Sundeep: I hardly emulate other brands because I am trying to carve a niche for CZAR. My main source of inspiration is my gut feeling and clothing trends, rather than shoe trends. Shoes keep changing every season; for example now sneakers are in … I don’t do any of those. I try and make sure every design of CZAR is different to anything you can find around and they fit the current fashion/clothing trends. Particularly, I focus on blending classic styles in today’s trending fashion. For the collection I have launched for women pay tribute to a 2000-year-old culture of embroidery in South Asia.
The Impact of Social Media
Sundeep: CZAR is a very niche brand, not the most social media friendly at this moment but I definitely do feel the impact of social media will be huge once everything falls into place.
A Usual Day in Sundeep’s Life
Sundeep: I am still very closely connected to the financial world hence my mornings start with reading financial news, stocks and nowadays cryptocurrencies, unless I am travelling which is quite often. I work on a lot of designs over a lengthy period. as we at CZAR make comfort shoes, as well as medicated insole shoes, and hence the process takes a lot longer.
The Current Favourite Designers
Sundeep: Personally I wear a lot of Dolce & Gabbana, Diesel & Emperor London. The brands I try and explore and read a lot about would be Gucci, Kenzo, Eton, Tom Ford and for shoes would be John Lobb, Santoni, Corthay and Taft.
The ‘Must-Have’ Wardrobe Essentials
Sundeep: It’s the same for most men I guess – black & white tees with denim and a pair of casual shoes, but not driving moccasins. It has changed though recently; I believe chinos and casual trousers are more appealing rather than denim, maybe because I feel they might be complimenting my CZARs better. A solid color shirt with chinos and contrast shoes would do everyday of the week.
An Insider Tip for Aspiring Designers
Sundeep: I could only advise in saying, make what you believe in and make others believe in that. It is really difficult in today’s day and age to carve a niche, but that quest itself is a fun journey which is probably going to be your best teacher.
Follow CZAR: @czar.official