Peshawar's chappal makers deem Paul Smith's 'Robert sandal' outdated

Published: March 11, 2014
The 'Robert' sandals cost $500. PHOTO: ONLINE

The 'Robert' sandals cost $500. PHOTO: ONLINE

PESHAWAR: The ‘new sandal’ from designer Paul Smith that created much hype on social media has amused shopkeepers in Peshawar, both for its $500 price tag and the fact that they say that it is an outdated look.

On Monday, a lot of people took to social media to berate the fashion house for “stealing” the design of the Peshawari chappals for its “Robert” sandal which is priced at 300 pounds ($500).

However, in the markets of Peshawar, the city from where the chappal originates, shopkeepers were more concerned that the British designer known for his signature multi-coloured stripe was behind the times.

“This design is outdated. Some people in their 60s or 70s ask for that design sometimes,” Kamran Khalil of the city’s Shoe Shop told AFP.

The high-gloss black leather, thin sole and open toe of the Paul Smith sandal have long been out of favour in Peshawar, Farhadullah, whose family have been making shoes in Peshawar for 70 years, explained.

“My father use to make this design but I don’t make it any more as there is no demand for it,” he told AFP.

“Only some retired military or police officials come and ask us to make it for them.”

The price of the chappals in Pakistan ranges from Rs500 – Rs2500.

There was astonishment that the Paul Smith version, which comes with a thin neon pink stripe along the side, could cost so much more.

“I’d say you’d have to be mad to pay Rs50,000 for chappals, when you can get them for 1,500 to 2,000,” chappal-wearer Mansoor Khan, 46, told AFP.

But Zahir Shah, 35, manager of the Style Collection chappal shop in Peshawar, defended the high price tag.

“If you want to buy a cricket bat used by Shahid Afridi or Sachin Tendulkar, you have to pay millions for it,” he said.

“The price is not high because of the wooden bat but due to the name of Afridi or Tendulkar, and so Paul Smith is selling his name.”

After a day of Twitter outrage and an online petition, the Paul Smith website changed the product description to say the sandal was “inspired by the Peshawari chappal“.

Khalil said Pakistan should be pleased that such a famous designer had been inspired by the traditional sandal – but urged Paul Smith to bring the design up to date.

“I am proud that the traditional Pashtun shoe is now available in the west as fashion, but the designers should work more to bring the best and latest designs,” he said.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (7)

  • Sexton Blake
    Mar 11, 2014 - 10:58PM

    Thank goodness for the news media. I have been buying sandals, which look just like the Paul Smith version for years, but without the pink stripe. I have always thought of them as just sandals, and have never heard of Paul Smith. One lives and learns. However, I am now in a quandary. All sandals/chappals look the same to me. Which design, if there really is a difference should I buy if I wish to appear trendy, and is a coloured strip absolutely essential if I aim to please my dear wife. Actually, I may have the answer. My wife reads the fashion magazines, and perhaps she already knows what I should buy, although funny thing, she has not commented on my feet apparel lately. Does that mean I am buying the correct product and she approves of it, or is it a sign that I am not her important other any more? Apart from being worrying it really is becoming very apparent that I have unduly ignored the importance of chappals, as a fashion statement, for much too long and I just have to get into the mainstream of fashion as quickly as possible. However, thank goodness Paul Smith chappals are out in a fashion sense because they are outrageously expensive. Fortunately, by not purchasing Paul Smith chappals I will save money and therefore will be able to buy a bunch of red roses for my wife more often just in case she is becoming disinterested in me. Thank you ET for bringing me up to date with the fashion world, but on the other hand you should feel a little guilty about causing me to worry about potential problems within my domicile. .


  • KB
    Mar 11, 2014 - 11:57PM

    I think Peshawari chappals or “Kherri” as it called locally originates from chach valley of dist. Attock and not Peshawar – Hazro Attock is famous for best handmade chappals than any other place in Pakistan.


  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Mar 12, 2014 - 7:30AM

    Kamran Khalil and others in Peshawar could sue Mr.Smith for coping the Peshawari Sandals, I have got a pair for years and use it some time in summer. Shame on Paul Smith to copy this so brazenly.


  • Mar 12, 2014 - 11:52AM

    It is Charsadda that is renowned for making the best chappals.Recommend

  • Ali Muhammad Khan
    Mar 12, 2014 - 1:15PM

    @Sexton Blake: hahahah..
    if u really want to buy updated version of these buy “Naroozi” with double sole…it will surly please u..bit heavy but once u get use too will never wear other shoes,i bet..!!!


  • yousaf
    Mar 13, 2014 - 1:39AM

    No the Bata/Service ones have a nice foot-bed..those ‘original chappals are a bit hard…wouldn’t you think so?


  • Mar 13, 2014 - 10:53PM

    Pakistani sentiment on this allegedly ‘stolen’ idea is misplaced. For us Pakistanis this is an opportunity to soar on this wave, update our products and bring them to the market. We have long suffered economic and societal set backs and its time that designers rise out of this haze and start working on an international level.
    The Market Find is a great place to start. We are an upcoming brand working to translate the Eastern aesthetic and ethnic textiles into products that fit the American lifestyle.

More in Fashion