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Gautam Sinha On Nappa Dori Opening In London And What He Likes To Do When He’s In The City

Ever since we discovered leather goods company, Nappa Dori tucked away in the dusty streets of Hauz Khas Village (circa 2010) we’ve been fans of its vintage style trunks with leather trimmings. This signature accessory that combines old school nostalgia with contemporary design perfectly represents the company’s aesthetic and craftsmanship. ‘Nappa’ borrowed from the Spanish word for leather, and ‘dori’, which in India means thread, explores duality right from its name to design. It captures a classical, often-lost vibe and combines it with a clean, minimal style to give you luxurious leather pieces.

Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori
Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori

Mixing leather with canvas and metal, the fine leather label that often takes inspiration from Lutyens Delhi and the bustling streets of India is now spreading wings to give a taste of India to the English, with its new store in London. Located on Monmouth Street, the two-storeyed store houses the brand’s signature leather goods such as handbags, luggage, purses, small leather goods, stationery, travel, and tech accessories. “It’s a true Nappa Dori store with all its usual trimmings and collections,” says founder and designer, Gautam Sinha.

Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori
Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori

“The idea of opening an international store has been brewing for a while,” explains Sinha about the brand’s foray into the City of Westminster. “We have been wanting to open an international store for the last two years and London was our first choice simply because the brand’s DNA resonates with the city in terms of its old world charm and the company’s philosophy. Plus, the city has a long history with India and a major catchment of Indians who connect to the brand.”

Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori
Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori

“We eventually locked in on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden as it’s one of the key streets in terms of the Central London retail scene, and someone well-versed with the city would be familiar with the shops, places to eat, and the indie-vibe as compared to the high street part of Covent Garden.” A perfect location indeed, located in the Seven Dials area which connects Covent Garden to Soho which is one of the more authentic yet buzzing parts of the city with a plethora of quaint boutiques, niche International brands, grooming salons, traditional British pubs, cool cocktail bars, and a host of trendy restaurants and cafés.  

Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori
Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori

Inside the 1400sq ft boutique you will experience the vibrancy of India in the form of leather goods and ambience. The focus for leather goods in the London store will be on more experimental products, says Sinha. “Expect a lot of women’s handbags - structured and in typical Nappa Dori colours i.e. earthy hues like tan, blacks, and browns. Plus, our signature Nappa Dori trunks are already doing really well, these are the pieces which we started the brand within the first place, and are our benchmark pieces,” adds Sinha. 

Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori
Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori

The atelier along with housing the leather goods will also serve as a base for Cafe Dori, the brand’s Pan-European style cafe. “We will be serving our signature dishes along with Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters  and traditional Indian chai. We are hoping to educate the audience in London about the Indian tea culture and practices,” explains Sinha.   

 

Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori
Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori

While, the new Nappa Dori store promises to be a must-visit destination in London for shopping, design and coffee; we implored Sinha to take us through some of his favourite things to see and do in the city. Take notes if a summer in London is on the charts or on your mind:  

Places To Eat:

“Right on our street is Monmouth Coffee Company that serves excellent coffee. It’s a tiny little place that does speciality coffee really well and has a cult following.”

“A must-visit is Samyukta Nair’s place, Bombay Bastian . I know I shouldn’t be suggesting an Indian restaurant to an Indian audience but it’s something that’s homegrown and has a really nice Indian vibe, hence I would highly recommend it.”

“One of my favourite places is Granger & Co., located in Notting Hill. It’s an Australian chain of restaurants, and if you’re a health freak or like healthy eating options, it’s the place to go.”

Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori
Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori

Places To Shop:

Seven Dials is a key shopping destination for Londoners, a lot of key indie brands and boutiques have come up in the area. It’s got a lot of small streets with unique shops and is a good area to explore.”

“Shopping in Shoreditch in East London is always high on my list when I go to the city. It’s got a mix bag of boutique and mainstream stores. Sneakersnstuff is located there, which is one of the best stores for sneakerheads. Other concept stores like Goodhood and Labour And Wait are also there.”

“I personally love thrift markets. Wherever I go in the world, I look for them for the furniture, clothes etc. London has a few of these like the Portobello Road Market and the Sunday flea market in Notting Hill. It’s a good place to scrummage for vintage clothing and furniture.”

Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori
Image Courtesy: Nappa Dori

Things To Do:

Colombia Road Flower Market is always a nice experience. One can wander around and have an early breakfast in the area.”

Tate Modern has to be done for anyone interested in design. It’s unavoidable for anyone interested in art and design, along with the V&A Museum. While V&A is the usual suspect, Tate Modern has a lot more to offer.”

“A must-do in the city is a pub crawl since London is filled pubs. It’s a good idea to pick a street and try out the different ales, snouts, and beers. Borough Market is a good place to start. It’s a farmer’s market and a lot of independent, homegrown brands have come up there. There are food stalls with organic produce, jams, wine, beer, and it’s a mixed bag of everything. It’s a food lover’s paradise.”

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