As summer winds down we not only have to start mentally preparing for the transition to fall, but we have to prepare our wardrobes. And Sarada Ravindra, founder of the casual and chic slip-on shoe brand Vayrata has you covered. The brand’s first offering is a unisex slip-on shoe crafted with hand-dyed leather handmade in Mexico. The traditional shoe style was inspired by Mexican beach culture and refashioned into a more modern and sleek version that simultaneously appeals to city dwellers. As a New Yorker, Ravindra understood comfort was key in the design process. Ravindra hails from the art world; creativity is in her bones, and the truly season-less shoe is quietly statement making in its simplicity. Ravindra has plans to introduce a new style for Spring as Vayrata continues to grow.
What inspired your transition from artist to shoe designer?
I find artistry in shoe design, so for me the labels are not mutually exclusive! When I saw the slip-on shoes, I knew it was an entrepreneurial opportunity and that aspect intrigued me. The challenges of running a business, overseeing production, sales and marketing, are things I never explored as an artist.
Have there been any major challenges starting a new business in a different industry?
Absolutely. There are challenges every step of the way, especially as the brand grows. I believe our biggest challenge has been the increased sales demand and making sure we are maintaining the quality of the product.
What has been the most interesting thing you’ve learned since entering the design world?
Personally for me, the most interesting thing I’ve learned is the collaborative process of creating a brand. Having met and worked with so many gifted people in this industry has taught me the creative process doesn’t just have to be an individual journey or pursuit, it can also be a collaborative effort.
How did you develop the silhouette?
We modified an already existing men’s silhouette from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The changes we made modernized the previous style, made it clean and unisex for greater versatility. Dressed up or casual, it looks fantastic on everyone!
Do you plan on introducing any new styles to the collection?
Yes, absolutely! Next Spring, Vayarta will be introducing a new backless slide – also unisex – very chic. Another exciting development is perforated leather, which we will also be offering in the signature slip-on style in a variety of colors.
Can you describe a bit of your handmade process?
The handmade process utilizes very traditional shoe-making methods inherent to the Mexican culture. For example, our shoes continue to be made with a hand sewn Goodyear welt stitch.
What made you decide to create a style that is unisex? How does this impact the sizing model?
After perfecting the general design of the shoe, it made sense to offer it is as unisex. The fact that the shoe is unisex does not impact our sizing model. We use standard international size conversion to create our size guide.
Has living in New York City, a walker’s paradise, inspired you to look at footwear design differently?
Definitely! New Yorkers do walk everywhere – while it hasn’t necessarily influenced the aesthetics of the shoe, it has definitely encouraged us to incorporate comfort to improve the function and utility for our customers overall. New Yorkers know that it’s important to look and feel good.
What is your favorite way to style your slippers?
Trick question! I honestly don’t have a single answer for this. I wear my slip-ons with everything, from jeans and a t-shirt to dresses. I also like to wear them in an unexpected way. I’m always experimenting.
What’s next for Vayarta?
Besides the new SS17 additions, for upcoming FW17 Vayarta will introduce two new suede styles (with crepe soles), also both unisex. So please stay tuned…