While tradition typically sees Hindu brides being adorned with mehndi on their hands and feet, Ballito mehndi artist Therusha Chetty puts a twist on this artform by embossing her intricate designs on sneakers.
While some people simply see a plain white pair of sneakers, 25-year-old Therusha sees an enticing canvas. “I looked at my white pair of takkies one day and I thought they were so boring, so I decided to spruce them up with my henna designs. I applied white and natural mehndi to the shoe and finished it off with a coat of varnish to give it shine and water-proof it so that it didn’t smudge,” says the somatology student.
And just over a year later, Therusha’s range of brightly coloured sneakers, canvases, cushion covers and jewellery boxes, which are all boldly decorated in gorgeous swirls of sparkling embossed mehndi and diamantes, were exhibited at the Design Indaba 2019 festival held in Cape Town. She had been selected as one of 50 individuals in South Africa to be chosen as the emerging creatives class of 2019.
“My love for art started when I was about three years old. By the time I reached my teens I had mastered the art of mehndi and henna art, which then led me to applying mehndi for brides and their families during school holidays, but it soon inspired me to use the mehndi in other ways.”
Since then Therusha has been doodling on canvas and more recently pursuing her idea of decorating sneakers. Her signature henna art sneakers have grown in popularity especially on social media.
She officially started her business, Desi designs by Therusha, at the beginning of last year and her business continues to grow. “I am very excited about the progress we have made and we are continually developing new designs and concepts. I have also incorporated henna art designs with African patterns to create a stylish range of Indo-African wearable art pieces that showcase South Africa’s heritage.”
Therusha’s passion lies in her love for the unique personalities she sees in society and people’s personal fashion choices. “I hope to continue to create designs that inspire and encourage the youth to embrace their heritage in a trendy innovative way. We also plan to expand the business and collaborate with different artists and designers for a cultural feast to further diversify our heritage and culture that is unique to Mzansi.”
Details: www.facebook.com/desidesignsbytherusha/ | @Ddesidesigns_therusha on Instagram
Text and photographs: MONIQUE DE VILLIERS-DELPORT