THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCESM
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES
THE MIDDLE EAST'S NEW TRAVEL MAGAZINE: FOR BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS, HOTELS, THINGS AND EXPERIENCES

Jetsetter: Nappa Dori founder Gautam Sinha on his favourite Delhi spots and why his luxury leather brand is perfect for travel

The design lover and creative director chats secret Delhi spots, his must-have travel accessories and cool cafe concepts

Isabella Sullivan

28 November 2023

nappa dori

Now one of India’s foremost contemporary design brands, luxury leatherware Nappa Dori was once a single store in Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village, and is now found in over 20 countries worldwide. At the helm is founder and creative Gautam Sinha, a Delhi-born creative and entrepreneur set on preserving India’s ancient crafts and heritage, while bringing them into the modern era. Paying homage to his heritage, while aligning with internationally aspirational aesthetics, Nappa Dori crafts timeless pieces perfect for travel, from vintage-style luggage to impeccably made travel bags and even homeware. Based in Delhi and frequently travelling between India, Dubai and across Scandinavia, we sat down with founder Gautam to chat his favourite Delhi spots, travel must-haves and why Nappa Dori offers the ideal travel accessories.

What’s your road most travelled?

I would definitely say Scandinavia. It’s the one place I usually travel to, mainly Denmark to get inspired and recharged. Design is everywhere and super well curated; I am actually sitting in a cafe in Copenhagen right now writing this piece. I love the minimal design language and I think that reflects in the things I design as well. The history of design that is constantly around you is what I love the most. 

Where is home for you?

I was born in Delhi and have lived most of my life over here, this is where my design studio is and I guess it’s safe to call it home. I also spend a lot of time in London

Delhi's Lodhi Gardens
Delhi’s tranquil Lodhi Gardens

If someone had 24 hours in Delhi, where would you send them?

If someone came to Delhi, I would definitely want them to experience the food. India is a sensory overload and I think Delhi is the heart of it. I would definitely start with trying Indian food at Bukhara – it’s an institutional place when it comes to Indian food. So, that’s a must, along with taking a walk in Lodhi Garden; it has so much history and is a little oasis in the middle of all the madness. Another place I would recommend visiting is Old Delhi. It’s a little intense but it’s full of life and you see the hustle pulsating in everything that moves. I also have to add Cafe Dori for some breakfast, as India can get a little intense so a nice eggs Benedict never hurts to start the day.

You create timeless, functional and stylish pieces perfect for travel. Tell me about why you created the Nappa Dori brand?

I guess life is full of surprises and I never really planned to start Nappa Dori but it happened. I was broke and honestly, my creativity was drained as I had been designing things for other people and when you do that it’s a morphed version of your creative output and what the client expects.  At that point, it was either move to Dubai and start a new life or do something that was completely out of my comfort zone and see where it went. Leather just so happened at that point as I was asked to design some belts for a Danish brand and I jumped at the opportunity to earn some extra cash. I then fell in love with the material and its versatility and the fact that it’s the oldest material man has ever known. I feel leather has an emotional connection with people, and love the fact that it ages really well and matures with time. 

Nappa Dori suitcase
Nappa Dori’s stylish Trucker carry-on suitcase (AED1,075)

You work with Indian artisans to keep the brand authentic. How important is heritage and craftsmanship to you? 

I am blessed to live in a country with so much craft and heritage. I feel keeping your roots strong while you make things is important and reviving the age of techniques is something that I get really excited about. We still handcraft a lot of our bags and hand-stitch leather which is a rather time-consuming process. Nappa Dori is an Indian brand but has a very global presence. We promote minimal Indian aesthetics which is a term we have coined as it does not exist. Usually, if you think of India, you think of vibrant colours and maximalism.  We love to show our heritage through the process of crafting products with very basic classic silhouettes. 

Tell me about Cafe Dori – how did this brand extension come about?

Well, I feel experiential retail is the way forward; everyone can shop for anything online nowadays, so how do you create a space which is conducive to today’s changing times? I wanted to create a place where you could visit to get your creative juices flowing again. I am a coffee addict as well and Cafe Dori was born out of the love for coffee and design which was missing in Delhi. We converted a huge warehouse into our retail shop with Café Dori, which is pet-friendly and has a special dog menu of scrambled eggs and carrot cake. It became a place for people to come and spend time and space to change the social fabric of society.

What’s the Nappa Dori item you can’t travel without?

I love making things inspired from the past and our Steamer Luggage is something that’s the closest to my heart. I always travel with things that make me feel an emotional connection with the product and nostalgic. I always carry my Nappa Dori notebook and pencils as I  love to scribble and write notes on my travels. 

What’s first in your suitcase when you’re packing?

My Leather bound notebook and pencils always come first, along with my AirPods as music is your best friend when you travel alone.

Do you have an in-flight (or mid-travel) routine?

I am Dyslexic and the way I can communicate best is visually. I therefore take time when I fly to delete and filter my photos on my phone. I love photography and flying gives me time to sit and edit my pictures. I currently have more then 28k photos on my phone from my travels across the world.   

Are you a frequent traveller? If so, have you had a recent travel discovery? 

I am a spontaneous traveller and do travel frequently. I have clocked up a lot of miles over the years! I love visiting markets and flea markets and finding treasures along the way. 

Where’s on your travel bucket list for the year ahead?

Japan! It is the one country I have been dying to visit and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to do so next year. I love everything Japanese and have a whole list of things I want to do when I get to Japan. 

Where is a destination that you visited and fell in love with?

Copenhagen. I love the city and the design over here which is one of the reasons why I am here again now. I love the food and the slow but well-curated lifestyle. Everything is perfect.

nappadori.ae, @nappadoriuae, @mister.dori

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