An Indian company is taking to the skies with its wanderlust-inspiring luxury leather goods

Over the years, in-flight amenity kits have been given a stylish makeover. Airlines around the world have roped in high-end brands, such as Salvatore Ferragamo and Bulgari, to transform what was once a fairly standard, uninspiring freebie into a collector’s item.
But 2017 will see an Indian luxury brand joining the fray: New Delhi-based Nappa Dori, founded by National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) graduate Gautam Sinha and named after the materials it uses—leather (nappa) and thread (dori in Hindi).Sinha and his team have applied the brand’s minimalist, wanderlust-inspiring design ethos to a collection of pouches for Qatar Airways that features vintage city scenes from London, Paris, and Doha. The kits will be given to business and first class passengers flying on short and medium-haul Qatar Airways flights around the world.
And that’s a big global milestone for the nearly seven-year-old brand. Though it now attracts celebrity clients in India and abroad, including Naomi Watts and Eva Longoria, Nappa Dori started out small in a studio in Delhi’s Hauz Khas village.
Early days

After studying fashion design at NIFT, Sinha, now 37, spent several years making products for European brands at a Dutch company in Delhi.
His love for leather came about by chance, thanks to a Scandinavian client who asked for a line of belts, prompting Sinha to give the material a shot for the first time. At 24, Sinha launched his first business, Definite Design, producing small leather goods for other brands. But it wasn’t until 2010 that he decided craft to designs under his own brand, Nappa Dori.
Sinha invested all his savings in the new business and began producing trunks and bags to sell out of his Hauz Khas studio. He figured he’d give himself a year to see how things would pan out.
“I really didn’t have a market and I didn’t know who’s going to buy (the products). But I did make (them), thinking that if I like it, someone else would like it,” Sinha said.
His instincts turned out to be right. Nappa Dori began drawing attention from the expat community and tourists in Delhi who snapped up the brand’s colourful trunks and its luxurious leather satchel and messenger bags, all of which seemed fit for nostalgic, Wes Anderson-esque journeys.Today, Nappa Dori runs six stores in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru and has plans to open even more, first in India and then abroad. Around 90% of its business now comes from these retail stores and Sinha says overall sales have been doubling year-on-year, every year.
And that has a lot to do with the evolving Indian customer.

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