Sandal maker of Hollywood produces for daily life
Keeping ancestral heritage profession alive of designing sandals for period films and dramas, Hüseyin Kopar, a local of Kahramanmaraş, is now trying to meet the demand of the foreign market to produce footwear for daily use as well as is receiving orders from the new movie and TV productions.
The 49-year-old sandal maker Hüseyin Kopar, who is a fifth-generation shoemaker, keeps this tradition alive with his sandals and kerchiefs, which he makes using traditional methods.
Kopar’s products are promoted at the fairs with the support of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and have been used in the world-famous movies, such as “Troy,” “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings,” and thus earned him the name of “Hollywood’s sandal maker.”
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Kopar said that he started making sandals at the age of 7 with his grandfather.
Explaining that they were making handmade sandals, whose roots are based in the Dulkadiroğlu Principality, as a family, Kopar said that they produce 106 kinds of products.
Kopar stated that people’s interest increased in sandals and kerchiefs after their use in world-famous movies and drew attention to the fact that these products are healthy and also give an authentic look.
Kopar stated that they make sandals that can be used easily in daily life with traditional methods, adding, “We never use glue or chemicals in the sandals. We wet the product in cold water, soften it by hand and mold it. Then we sew them. We dry the products in molds for 20 days. We then oil them with olive oil and paint them with root dyes. I do it as it was done in the past by my grandfathers. The models change only. The feature of these sandals is that they don’t cause fungus and itching on the feet. They can be worn in water, sea, and mud.”
Kopar stated that classical sandals are in demand from the theater and cinema sector and that they accelerated production for daily use recently.
“Thanks to the movies, people’s interest in sandals increased. We export them to the U.K., the U.S. and many countries in Europe. So far, we have sent 3,000 pairs to the U.S. and 1,500 pairs to the U.K. alone. We also receive orders from other markets. We launched a registered trademark abroad for Ottoman sandals,” he said.
Noting that their products are promoted in fairs all over the world, Kopar said: “We take the models of our sandals from the Ottoman and Seljuk archives of the ministry and make them similar to the original ones. If the world knows these products, everyone living in Turkey should know them, too.