India has seemed to grow quintals since my last trip here. It is either that, or I am looking out for things differently.
There is a paradigm shift in perception towards aesthetics, buying trends, style and appreciation of quality. The word niche and speciality are now a Unique Selling point, as against ‘Limited Resources’.
So it is no surprise I am coming across great Designers, who not only support local craftsmen with ancestral skills, but also induce cultural heritage to reveal a brand which brings to surface the New Wave of Handcrafted Luxury in India.
I caught up with the designer behind this Leather Brand NAPPA DORI, Gautam Sinha over an interesting discussion on India Shining, and riding the wave of the new segment of people appreciating Product Designers in India.
TB: NAPPA DORI definitely is a catchy name. When and how did it happen?
GS: I always wanted to start my own thing, curating things and designers I liked, till one day I decided maybe I will start my own label. I was in no rush since I was already in the industry, so decided ,first the name then the brand. One day while working on a sample with some leather and thread, I just said the 2 words(NAPPA, as in Leather, and DORI, Indian name for thread), thus the name struck.
I wanted to create a brand, and NAPPA DORI was my vision of creating a brand of luxury leather products.Once the name was sealed, making the products was easy,since I exactly knew what I wanted to sell.
TB: You have been in the industry for a fair amount of time, so NAPPA DORI is conceived after a lot of patience and experience?
GS:Yes, I have been working with Luxury Leather for a while now, with my export business called Definite Design,where we export to Scandinavian countries, I had the opportunity to understand the quality and finish required in working with Leather. Training Indian craftsmen to understand that value, is an intangible no one can take away from them.
With my export line, I ended up working for luxury hotels and restaurants, doing everything from in-room decor in Jumeriah Madinat , Burj al Arab to customized Menu cards for Michelin Starred restaurants like Nobu, Gordan Ramsay & Marco Pierre White.
However, I wanted to do something for myself, a range where I wanted to share what I loved personally, thus NAPPA DORI was born with all that experience,knowledge and yes patience.
TB: Is there a story behind the graphics?
GS: Oh I am very inspired by pictures and Images of Imperialism in India. Since my products have a huge demand abroad, the images act as a memento, a reflection of India, while maintaing the luxury. I have had requests for me to ship to Tokyo,London,Sydney, and the fact that we are based in Hauz Khas which has quite a number of footfalls of expats and tourists, the word spreads more easily.I want to send out a message of a Luxurious India.
TB: Oh, and on Hauz Khas! This place has changed since I last remembered it 4 years ago?
GS: Even 2 years ago, the village was quaint with narrower streets, and not many designers. But this has become the Soho of NYC, or the Nottinghill of London, where you would go to explore local artisans and craftsmen and designers! It works great for brands like mine, and many more, because this place thrives on community. I hope it does not go too commercial and retain its charm even after a few years.
The difference is the kind of people it has started attracting, the people who come to shop here have started understanding the value of speciality. As a Product Designer, we were always complimenting a main Fashion Line, but now Accessory Designers and Lifestyle Designers have carved out a niche,and that gives me great comfort and confidence in the future of the brand!
TB: Last but not the least, When do we see NAPPA DORI in London??
GS: Oh I am dying to sell NAPPA DORI in London, I think it will connect to the vibe Londoners have.We even had the privilege of Sir Paul Smith come to store one day. I guess baby steps, I hope to get these to London and New York soon!
I worked on a little video Montage of the products in the store. Please leave your feedback, and would love to know if you would like to see more of these videos.
Visit Nappa Dori on their Facebook Page Here