‘Chapal’ back in vogue due to retro appeal


Traditional footwear: Azmi, seen here at a Ramadan booth in a shopping mall, says his ‘chapal’ has been a hit among younger customers this festive season. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

BUTTERWORTH: The trend of wearing chapal (traditional Malay sandals) has been making a comeback, especially among the younger generation.

Chapal maker Azmi Jaafar, 45, said the chapal is no longer seen as old-fashioned footwear worn by older men but have become part of chic Malay attire during festive seasons like Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

“In the past, we used to see only men aged over 40 wearing chapal when they went to the mosque for prayers.

“But in recent times, younger men are showing an interest in chapal because they like the retro look, ” he said when met at a Ramadan booth at Sunway Carnival Mall.

Azmi has been operating a footwear shop at the Bagan Complex here for 20 years.

During Ramadan, he runs a booth at Sunway Carnival Mall under the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama).

He used traditional cobbler’s tools to make chapal in the past, but now relies on modern machinery.

“More chapal can be made this way, compared to making them manually, ” he said, adding that he could produce 25 pairs per day by using three sewing machines.

He said sandals are not only popular among Malays but also other Malaysians. Among the most sought-after chapal for the upcoming Hari Raya festival are those with more traditional designs, he said.

The sandals are worn with baju melayu and can be paired with jeans or khaki pants, Azmi said, adding that a pair of chapal cost between RM150 and RM185, while custom-made ones could go up to RM450 per pair, depending on the type of materials used.

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