Hand-made sandals capture spotlight in Clarendon

Lionel Town resident Chantal Lewis is setting her sights of becoming one of Jamaica’s prominent footwear designers.

The 26-year-old Clarendon native’s hand-made leather sandals caught everyone’s attention at the recent launch of the Palmers Cross Community Development Committee (PCCDC) in Clarendon.

Senator Pearnell Charles Jr. (centre) looks at sandals made by Chantal Lewis (second left) at the launch of the Palmers Cross Community Development Committee in Clarendon on July 18.  Sharing the moment are her sister Ca-Deiva Clarke (left) and President of the Palmers Cross Community Development Committee Romeo Mitchell (Photo contributed)

Lewis explained that her interest in craftsmanship started while she was a child watching her uncle make bags from calabash, leather, wool or thread. This interest grew and developed over time but Lewis noticed she preferred making sandals.

“I tried getting help from one well-known local designer but got none.”

— Chantal Lewis

“I have been making sandals on and off for three years now,” she said, pointing to the pair on her feet. I am self-taught, I go online for tips and to look at shapes and styles. I tried getting help from one well-known local designer but got none.”

While the budding artisan says the process is time-consuming, the effort is worth it in the end because her customers love her work.

“I also want to expand my brand into clothing and other items.”

— Chantal Lewis

“I would like to see my sandal business grow big, but I also want to expand my brand into clothing and other items and make a significant mark on the local and overseas market,” Chantal remarked.