When I first knew I was going to India I reached out to my friends for any contacts or tips on the where to go, what to do and what I simply must not miss. I struck lucky and was given some fantastic inside information which led me straight to the door of Nappa Dori in Delhi. Within the rough and ready nature of India, a trait which I had instantly fallen in love with, I wandered down what I thought was a little back street in Hauz Khas in search of this tip off and found myself walking into a very stylish, cosmopolitan styled shop. This was on my first day in India and I was still coming to terms with the contrasts between derelict looking buildings hiding within chic little gems of some kind. India seems to be full of such places, making it such an exciting place to explore. Nappa Dori was a place I revisited while I was in Delhi as it was full of all sorts of exciting leather goods, from trays to bags, from belts to suitcases. The style and their styling within the stores made this brand stand out, I wanted to buy more than I did, in hindsight perhaps I should have bought one of their suitcases so that I could have filled it with more of their amazing wash bags, laptop bags, briefcases etc. There's something glamorous about it, something chic. As much as I would like to keep this little gem a secret, it would be unfair for me not to share everything I have found out about this company and let you into my new discovery. I'm sure you will agree as you read on and view the beautiful images this is a brand to keep your eyes peeled for, you will want to be in possession of some of their beautiful goods. Read on to find out more in my interview with founder and designer Gautam Sinha.
Who is the founder of Nappa Dori?
Nappa Dori was born in 2011 in a quaint village nestled in the heart of Delhi. Deep within the dusty and damp alleys was a creative studio owned by Gautam Sinha, a NIFT graduate in Fashion Design, who had an epiphany that compelled him to discard conventional fashion design and explore the world of Indian leather and artisanal craftsmanship.
Voted in 2011 as one of the five most creative talents in the Indian scene by the British Council, Gautam has brought a unique creative flair, complemented by an energetic entrepreneurial zest that has propelled Nappa Dori into the mainstream Indian design industry.
Today, Nappa Dori’s success story is applauded by many as it has disrupted conventional design mandates and created its own unique creative ideology. The creative essence is about simplicity in thought and action. Effective, usable design that compliments people’s lifestyles without being ostentatious, predictable or clichéd, while adding a touch of effortless flair to the modern day lifestyles of those young at heart.
What was the inspiration for creating Nappa Dori?
Nappa Dori is a tribute to quintessential Indian sensibilities, blended perfectly with contemporary interpretations in design, material and craftsmanship. The Indian love story being a global one, aspires everyone to the nostalgia, mysticism and romance of the historic landmarks, vibrant culture, landscape and an endless collection of eclectic modern icons. The Nappa Dori name is firmly rooted in Indian origins and literally translated means 'leather and thread'.
Nappa Dori offers a unique mix of design and craftsmanship as it celebrates an era when every journey was glamorous and travels ventured to unfamiliar frontiers to discover both themselves, as well as new places. Every handcrafted piece of Nappa Dori accessories or luggage is an expression of fine individuality. Embellishments adorn materials in subtle sophistication, carefully balanced to make a distinct statement that whispers elegance.
Is the leather all sourced from within India?The leather is sourced from all different parts of the country, depending on what type of leather we need, as South India is more known for softer leather for garments and the North is known more for leather products such as furniture and horse saddles, so we source from all over depending on our collections.
I love the concept of mixing the Indian images on canvas with the leather how was this creation born?As the brand is a tribute to quintessential India, we wanted to depict India in its true beauty. Not how its been done all along with overwhelming images which make India kitch, we hate the word 'kitch':) We wanted it to whisper elegance and at the same time have a very contemporary look and feel, in level with international sensibilities. The images are all shot by our team of photographers and artists. There is a sense of nostalgia that we wanted to evoke in our clientele, who would feel a connection to the product they were buying.
Do you work closely with the skilled leather craftsman to create the design and ensure the pieces are perfect for sale?All our artisans have been trained and employed by us. These are people who have been doing this for generations and we try to maintain that craft by securing their source of income by giving them more than industry standard pays. This way they can stop worries about the basics and imply their complete dedication to the craft. I feel its important for brands to build on the skills they have so that is there for ages to stay.
I know Nappa Dori is conscious about giving back to the community, can you explain to us what you do?We are very conscious of our imprint on the industry, society and culture. These three are essential to build a complete brand. We have been giving back from day one, before we even sold our first product. We have been associated with Harmony House, which takes care of underprivileged kids in Delhi, we have been closely associated with them from day one. Its very important to know the younger generation gets the right opportunities no matter where they come from. We also take great pride in hiring woman, as the leather industry is dominated by men. I feel these small steps take you a long way, when you need to leave a positive social impact on the society.
You currently have three stores in Delhi, have you any plans to expand or go international in the near future?We do have three stores in Delhi and the plans are to double that very soon, we already have stock in some very key concept stores internationally, like the The Conran Shop in London and Paris, and Anthropologie in the States. I feel the growth has to be organic and not money driven hence, from the start we have been very conscious of where we stock and who we supply to. I think its important to curate your product in a way which is true to the brand, rather than try to be everywhere at once.We are here for the long run!
Should you wish to learn more about Nappa Dori do take a look at their site www.nappadori.com you won't be disappointed.
This is not a sponsored post
All photos have been supplied by Nappa Dori