Designer spotlight: Shoes
You won’t have to sacrifice style for comfort when pounding the pavement in these locally designed shoes.
Wed Apr 11 2012
Sir Dandy oxfords, $228, at NOS Boutique
Dude Taxi Cab sneakers, $169 (normally $188), at prajaa.com
Boy Washed Brown sneakers, $142 (normally $158), at prajaa.com
Chukka black suede lace-ups, $175, at Jussara Lee
Santiago Wheat sneakers, $160 (normally $178), at prajaa.com
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Designer Ferdy Tumakaka
Ferdy Tumakaka of Prajaa (prajaa.com)
Who he is: Though he’d been sketching fashion designs since he was a kid, Tumakaka originally moved to New York from Jakarta, Indonesia, to study classical piano. When his duet partner took time off to have a baby, he decided to roll the dice and embrace his childhood passion. “I had all this time on my hands, so I just jumped into designing men’s shoes,” he says. The 27-year-old self-taught cobbler doesn’t just make footwear—he also gives back to the community, training at-risk teenagers in shoemaking at Prajaa’s Bandung, Indonesia, workshop. “A lot of them are very talented,” says Tumakaka. “But their talents aren’t going anywhere if they don’t have good direction.”
About the line: Prajaa, which means “generation” in Sanskrit, focuses on sneakers ($168–$228), chukkas ($175–$188) and slip-ons ($158), which are handmade in Indonesia from locally sourced materials, such as full-grain premium leather and handwoven fabrics, including batik and lawa, a cross-pollinated cotton unique to the country. “When it comes to designing, comfort is where I usually start,” notes Tumakaka, who works out of his Chelsea apartment. This becomes most evident in subtle details such as cushioned insoles, goatskin and lambskin linings, and vulcanized rubber soles. But don’t expect Prajaa to turn out Red Wing–esque boots anytime soon. “Men’s footwear has been progressing toward the Americana style, and I want to break away from that,” declares Tumakaka. Instead, his designs have an urban, worldly feel, with dark laces contrasting against neutral-toned exteriors and a clean yet weathered aesthetic. “Prajaa is all about self-expression,” says Tumakaka. “You don’t have to be fashion conscious to appreciate these shoes.”
Where to buy: NOS Boutique (165 Front St at Jay St, Dumbo, Brooklyn; 718-422-0095, nosboutique.com) and Jussara Lee (60 Bedford St between Commerce and Morton Sts; 212-242-4128, jussaralee.com). Or use code “TONY10” at prajaa.com for 10 percent off all purchases through April 18.