7 questions with Malika Noor Chowdhury from Juttis by Trunk Lane
Classic, comfy and practical, ballet flats are an essential for every wardrobe. While they will always be a classic, the typical Western ones can sometimes be a little bland when worn with traditional South Asian clothes. This is where Malika Noor Chowdhury comes in, with her store Juttis by Trunk Lane, which offers a wide selection of comfy, blinged out juttis for the shoe lovers.
When did you decide to become a footwear designer?What motivated you and who inspired you?
A little over 3 years ago, I decided to foray into the footwear market and was a pioneer in bringing juttis or ballet flats from the Indian subcontinent to Dhaka. Trunk Lane is an international brand and I have the franchise to it in Dhaka. What motivated and inspired me was the fact that it is completely handmade, as well as the creative craftsmanship of the artisans on footwear, that is perfect for any occasion and all age groups.
Moreover, I fell in love with their aesthetically created lifestyle wear . The flat leather juttis with double cushioning are perfect to accessorize with traditional as well as chic contemporary wear, which is why I decided to go through with this.
What was your biggest obstacle in becoming a footwear designer and how did you overcome it? Tell us about your journey.
I feel that the biggest obstacle was to convince women that flats can be as stylish and comfortable, if not more, than heels and stilettos - and I have succeeded to a great extent in my mission. My journey started by attending numerous exhibitions whichwere held to introduce a new concept in footwear. I sold out within a few hours with women clamouring for more.
Today, I have a store to showcase juttis by Trunk Lane at 14 Kemal Ataturk Avenue in Banani. Women do not need to wait for exhibitions any more - they can simply walk in to my store and buy them. Besides India and Bangladesh, Trunk Lane also has a global presence in Australia and UAE.
What sets you and Juttis by Trunklane apart from other such footwear designers?
I believe Juttis by Trunk lane is quite versatile, housing sophisticated collections of artisan made lifestyle wares inspired by craftsmanship and culture that reflect the essence of our subcontinent.
With Pohela Boishakh approaching, what new designs are you currently working on?
For Pohela Boishakh, we are bringing in the mother-daughter duo. These pairs are smart casuals in a variety of prints embellished with thread and zari embroidery to suit everyone’s needs.
What have been the most popular designs among your clients?
The most popular designs until now are the ones with ghungroo and the printed ones. The printed ones can go with any outfits during any occasion, while the pairs with ghungroo on them are more appropriate for the traditional look.
In the age of heels and stilettos how has been people’s response to the juttis that you design?
Juttis are the most comfortable and easy to wear footwear that can be paired with any outfit on any occasion. I have the perfect collection, starting from traditional to casual designs to suit the culture and styles best appreciated in the Bangladeshi market.
Basically, everyone was only used to heels and flat sandals during that time, but when I brought in the juttis, it was something completely different and the women loved it. I still remember the first exhibition which I was a part of – I had to struggle so much to explain to people that juttis can be a new fashion statement. People at that time, were not open to the concept of wearing flat leathered footwear. Juttis by Trunk Lane created a revolution by introducing flat shoes to the women of Bangladesh and spoiled them for choice – a jutti for every occasion, starting from casual to formal and traditional.
We would like all the woman out there to come, experience and celebrate handmade, authentic, and high qualityfootwear, crafted with care by those artisans who make them scratch.
Any future plans or exclusives that you'd like to share with the readers of Avenue T?
My future plan is to ensure that women can put their best ‘Trunk Lane’ feet forward. We hope to continually introduce a variety of new designs in order to satiate the needs of all the stylish women out there.