In an effort to protect intellectual property rights of the popular Kolhapuri Chappals, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, had decided to apply for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) close to five years back.
The intention is to prevent outsiders from exploiting the brand name. The University had even signed a memorandum of understanding with the Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai. The MOU provided for a community development programme of cobblers in the district.
Dr PM Bhonsale, Nodal officer, RSP 2009 project, of Shivaji University, Kolhapur, says that the move was to help the cobbler community and the artisans in Kolhapur. “The project was implemented in 2009 – the government has sanctioned Rs 2.5 crore to train manufacturers of the Kolhapuri chappal on how to process the leather effectively, besides other aspects. Now, we have set up a common facility centre and have new machinery too,” he beams.
He adds that the centre has so far trained around 120 artisans in the fine nuances of crafting Kolhapuri chappals. “Our target is to train 1000 artisans. These are not ordinary craftsmen but masters in their field. Their designs are retailed in 35 countries and each pair is priced at approximately Rs 3,000 in India and Rs 6,000 onwards, abroad. And most of them are weather proof,” he explains.
The team is still in the process of bagging an IPR for the Kolhapuri chappal, but the fact that the company has had a turnover of Rs 4,000 crore last year, gives them little reason to feel demoralised.
Region specific styles
Bhagalpur silk: Located in Bihar, Bhagalpur is known as Silk City courtesy a spawning silk industry that is 200 years old.
Chikan: Chickankari is a traditional embroidery style from Lucknow.
Jodhpurs: Originally worn in Jodhpur in Rajasthan, these pants are tight-fitting only from the knee to the ankle and flared above the knee.