Label to Love: Achilles’ Heel

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LABEL NAME: Achilles’ Heel (

OWNER: Nirali Ruparel Gurwada, Founder, CEO & Designer

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SC: Why ’Achilles Heel’?

Nirali Ruparel Gurwada: “The strength of our shoes represents the immortality of Achilles(the greek hero) and ‘Achilles’ heel’ is the weakness of the strong-footed. The same weakness signifies our buyer’s weakness for our shoes!”

SC: Any reason why you design footwear only for men?

NRG: “Oh, I love my men! Jokes apart, it was a strategic decision. I wanted to witness men go beyond their classic black oxfords and brown derby shoes. Plus, women have a designer range for literally everything, so why not men?” 

SC: What are the different styles of footwear you design?

NRG: “Oxfords, derbys, single, double and triple monk-straps, smoking slip-ons, penny loafers, brogues, boots and maharaja mojris- just about everything except sportswear for now!”

SC: Personally, what styles of footwear do you prefer?

NRG: “Depends upon my mood and the look I am trying to create. I wear slip-ons and espadrilles on my usual days, but stick to stilettos for formals!”

SC: What materials does Achilles Heel play around with?

NRG: “We use hide and vegan/pleather materials of napa, suede, patent, nubuck, et cetera. Sourced from eco-friendly tanneries and the best textile houses.” 

SC: Does your brand love trends?

NRG: “Who doesn’t? But we don’t follow them.”

SC: What does the story board of your recent collection look like?

NRG: “It defines real class and it’s designs and hues facilitate a great sense of masculine pride.”

SC: Who would you like to wear your shoes?

NRG: “A man playing a number of noir characters rather convincingly. He’s a playboy, but with immense amount of prep, panache and class.” 

SC: The single-most lesson you’ve learnt in your journey till now?

NRG: “Timing is everything and perfection comes only with time. If you sit with a big idea and keep it for long, your competitor will launch it first and take it all away. You’ve got to work hard but work real smart!”

SC: Where do you see your brand in the next ten years?

NRG: “The craftsmanship in India, the quality of our products and the sense of fashion existing in our country- all combined, are in line with even the best European brands in the market today. However, due to lack of impetus, shoe designers in India have not been able to stand shoulder to shoulder with renowned names like Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin. In the next ten years or less, I aim to achieve what the rest couldn’t.”