Meet the maker: Komal Panchal – Kanvas Kloset

Meet Komal Panchal, the owner of Kanvas Kloset — a small yet self-sufficient company managed single handedly by Komal herself. A young, passionate designer with wacky, creative ideas almost always up her sleeve, Komal claims to be a go-getter who is always searching for new ventures to embark upon.

In a time where brands are repeatedly turning to the West for inspiration, there’s one that’s choosing to believe in the richness in culture and ingenuity back home.

Meet Komal Panchal, the owner of Kanvas Kloset — a small yet self-sufficient company managed single handedly by Komal herself. A young, passionate designer with wacky, creative ideas almost always up her sleeve, Komal claims to be a go-getter who is always searching for new ventures to embark upon.

“My passion for design began at an early age,” she reminisces. “As a kid, you would find me painting random walls or helping my friends with art. I always relied on my artistic side to express myself, as well as using it to beautify spaces and everyday objects around me.”

Soon, this ingenious spark transformed into a surer, brighter flame to build a platform to showcase her art.

Although Komal started Kanvas Kloset way back in 2009, she only recently graduated from SNDT University in 2014. Even while studying for her Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Designing, she was integral in managing various events of designers like LFW, Indian Bridal Week, as well as brands such as Simya and Rohan Arora. “Meanwhile, I also designed for theatre and stage shows,” she adds. “Even today, I work as a freelance stylist for various TVCs and occasionally as a freelance fashion illustrator as well.”

While art might be her forte, Komal’s quite the jack of all trades. Not only is she responsible for the creative genius behind Kanvas, but also manages the marketing, photography, and all other management duties. “Lately, though, I have hired skilled people for legal work and packaging. I finally have some breathing space!”, she laughs.

So, where did the journey commence?

“What many people ignore is that our country has a rich heritage of art and design,” she says. “Various forms of painting and textile art have flourished for a long time in India. At Kanvas, we believe the need to protect these dying art forms. Without patronage, the artisans who work tirelessly to create these handicrafts feel disillusioned and prefer to discontinue their practice. They pursue other labours in order to earn a regular source of income. That, if you ask me, is both terrible and pitiful for such valuable, indigenous art-forms.”

Kanvas, she says, is and has always been about expressing yourself by wearing what you like, the way you like it. “It is about defining your world by your choices of design. It is a brand that rejoices creativity, colours, and self-expression.”

Recently, the brand’s focus has been to transform sophisticated, native art into fashionable, modern forms by infusing vigour in their designs. “We are inspired by our Indian roots. We wish to see our shoes talk ancient Indian art, and we are sure they will.”

All that’s well and good. But personally, where did it all begin?

“Unknowingly enough, shoes were something that were always at the back of my mind,” says Komal. “I noticed that I had more Barbie shoes than Barbie clothes — and if truth be told, I’ve always had the tendency to choose my clothes according to my shoes.”

Yet, Komal says, she never considered it as a full-time profession. “Eventually, I began taking it seriously and learned the trade through time. I also found people to work with and chargers who could bring my sketches to life and voila! I was a footwear designer.”

What’s next for Kanvas Kloset?

Komal says that the brand doesn’t really have a target audience. “If you’re a ‘shoeholic’ and love to wear something unique and experimental, we’re here for you,” she says. “We make everything from chic and edgy Oxfords and Brogues, to fancy kolhapuris and wedges — and even those experimental extra high heels!”

Kanvas as a brand aims to nurture the art of hand-painting, thereby encouraging people to value handicraft and traditional techniques of intricate design. “At Kanvas, our ambition is to revive these ethnic styles by transforming it into a contemporary forms,” Komal says. “Some designs are digitalised to make it commercial, but our footwear is created by Indian artisans who give their time and effort into the making of each pair. We want to pursue and nurture Indian art so it thrives in new, enchanting forms.

“Kanvas is an Indian brand — and proudly so.”

Komal signs off by adding that she just doesn’t wanna make beautiful pretty things, but also something with a lot more heart, soul, and purpose. “We would love it if it becomes a big business, of course, and we’d love nothing more than to provide employment to really talented but underprivileged people.

“But for now, we just wanna be happy and spread the joy of colours into people’s lives.”

You can learn more about Komal’s wonderful venture by exploring her page here: http://engrave.in/kanvas-kloset

To read stories about all our makers click here.

Rameez Shaikh

Rameez Shaikh is a twenty-three year old writer. With a degree in journalism to his name, he's an aspiring author with an absolutely astounding admiration for alliteration. Leisure propels him to read, dance, pen fiction and gloat about himself in third person. On weekdays, he works as a features writer. On weekends, he's a Manchester United fan.

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