how to wear your ‘art on your sleeves

Over at Shoes Your Daddy, a small but spirited art- meets- fashion endeavour, Delhi based founder Sugandha turns erryday clothes and shoes into canvases for her exquisite art. I recently popped into Rajasthan for a short vacation and this Mughal miniature painting- inspired jacket was perfect for long walks in the windy pink corridors of its ancient forts. I wore it over a whisper of a chikankari kurta from Janpath, an old chartreuse sweater and parrot green pants. I’d happily throw this on over a cotton sari, a sundress or a gharara.

I met Sugandha at a flea market for small local businesses and loved how earnestly she pitched her work. There’s something about spunky young women taking risks over something they love that gets me everytime. It wasn’t easy choosing from her arrestingly gorgeous prints- other favorites were unibrowed goddess and feminist icon Frida Kahlo and fluid swirls of blue, white, black and yellow approximating Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Because I stumbled on her stall near closing time, she gave me a 500 Rupee discount on this 4000 Rupee jacket. She also does shoes and is especially happy to work with Vans or Converse pairs. If you want one customised with a particular design, send her your shoes after confirmation from her end, or ask her to source your size. All her hand- painted shoes and garments are washable. For general dirtiness or even a localised stains, a soft cloth, cold water and careful hand washing will do quite nicely.

You can browse Sugandha’s work at her Instagram page. For general enquiries, tap on the FAQs in her Highlights. For jacket- specific information, tap on Jackets. You can message her on Instagram for purchase requests. She accepts payments through PayTm and Online Banking options like NEFT and IMPS.

And now, a PSA. When reaching out to a small business for a purchase, it’s important to remember that they’re still scrambling to get operations and logistics right. It’s an all- hands- on- deck situation and they may not always have the time or energy to engage in long winded conversations. Replies to your questions may be short and professional and not always prompt, but that’s no reason to spit fire at them or accuse them of ‘rudeness’. They’re not being rude; they’re just optimizing. There’s nothing a small business loves more than a customer who communicates with courtesy and professionalism, so keep your enquiries strictly information- based and remember to thank them after the exchange. Think a lot before you escalate to aggression, like demanding a refund for a late delivery, for example. Small businesses rely heavily on state and national courier services and don’t always control delivery speeds. It’s best to assume that any timelines conveyed before your purchase are fluid and come from a place of good intentions. No one wants to inconvenience or disappoint their customer.

Also, remember to thank them and compliment their work after you’ve received a satisfactory order. Kindness goes a long way in boosting morale, and who knows, you might make a great new friend! Always support small businesses, local businesses and women- owned businesses any way you can.

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