Ammar Belal, a name that we loved and was acknowledged worldwide for his menswear label, has been away for quite some time but he’s been doing some seriously cool work as designer, model and professor at the Parsons School of Design in New York. His next project focuses on a ‘Craft – Cause – Community’ programme. The platform not only aims at providing high-quality primary education to underprivileged kids in Pakistan, but also trains female jutti (shoe) makers, enabling them to survive in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
“The jutti is a uniquely symmetrical shoe. Our business model also reflects this symmetry through our pledge that what we make equals what we give,” revealed ONE432 CEO Ammar Belal in an interview with Khaleej Times. ONE432 is his new label.
“Fifty percent of our net profit is shared with our artisans and our cause: providing high-quality primary education for underprivileged kids in Pakistan.”
Speaking of why he decided to venture into shoes, Ammar said, “Based on our ideas of inclusive design and responsibility, we came across a unique irony within South Asian history and language. The word for all “shoes” in Urdu is ‘jutti‘. Surprisingly, ‘jutti‘ did not always mean general shoes.”
He added that the origins of the word denoted a uniquely symmetrical, fully handmade, south Asian slipper, which was so widely worn by the general public, that it became the generic word for “shoes”.
The brand’s jutti is a re-imagining of a 400-year-old South Asian staple. These shoes are designed for everyday use, using the best material.
The company is committed to using eco-friendly practices such as utilising vegetable dyeing, recycled cotton and chromium-free leather.
Buyers have the option to shop by cause, e.g. building critical infrastructure in remote schools, contributing to scholarship funds and arranging workshops by qualified teachers.
“ONE432 is a prompt to question all systems around us and stop following the overly simplistic 1,2,3,4 linear approach. I always say, ‘Life isn’t as simple as 1,2,3,4, its ONE…4,3,2. One step forward combined with 3 steps of reflection’,” the socially conscious designer explained the dynamics behind the brand name.
The brand also sets a new standard for transparency by showing each dollar contributed to the corresponding cause in real time through a live tracker.