I think this desi jazz is a perfect score for what that follows.
The name Door Of Maai literally stems from the sacred place called ‘Dwaarkamai’ at the famous shrine at Shirdi, Maharashtra. The word Maai stands for ‘mother’ in most of the Indian vernaculars and seemed an apt representation of the core values of the brand, which aims to pursue ecological and environmental friendly practices by using organics and recycled materials, doing our bit to protect Mother Nature.
Pooja DOM’s founder and designer is a design graduate from NIFT and holds a master’s degree from the University for the Creative Arts, Kent. Post this she has worked with the designer Anamika Khanna handling graphics and trousseau for her, after which she launched Door of Maai in December 2015. ” I love the fact that most of the Indian textiles and crafts can be traced back to historical times and across different eras. My favorite would be brocades in which the extra wefts in silver are inserted to give the rich aristocratic feel to the textiles. Apart from that I’m a huge fan of ahimsa-silk in which the cocoon is not destroyed to produce the silk. As an Indian, I’m proud of khadi having become synonymous with India.” says Pooja
DOM is committed to practicing responsible design.”We started this by using the GOTS certified organic cottons sourced directly from the mills in Kolkata. This was gradually extended to introducing a separate line called Upcycled Minimalism, which upcycled industrially produced excess fabrics to be incorporated into the designs. Our very first collection was made using the fabrics which we sourced from one of the Raymond’s outlets in Kolkata. Under production is our next mini-collection in which about 1.5 metres of fabric has been incorporated into 10 different pieces using the zero-waste design practice. This fabric was a reject piece because of a minor error in the design being printed in a mirrored pattern. It has been cut in a way that camouflages the original print to now look like an abstract piece of work.”
“Sustainability is a broad pursuit. I am not sure if it is possible to make a 100% sustainable garment. But what is possible, is to pick up one direction, which you know, will add to the final pursuit. So if one of my collections isn’t organic it will be in 100% khadi, in which the yarns are both handspun and handwoven. Recently I have just sourced textiles which although are not handspun but are handwoven and organic. So, personally, I like to pick up one aspect of sustainability and responsible design and base my collections on that. This gives me enough elements to play around with.”
“A designer in my view is in a very powerful position. My MA thesis had also echoed these views. When we make a decision, we in turn influence a huge shift in taste for the end consumer. If we don’t make and offer products with ethical values, then we shouldn’t complain about the lack of demand. Our smallest of decisions can impact a complete life cycle of products. Today if my business grows and I can order for a steady supply of organic cotton, then I may in turn be responsible for avoiding at least one farmer suicide – who could not stand the pressures against cheaply produced general cotton. If I as the designer, decide not to use, a particular type of trimming, then the product will be able to easily decompose in the most natural way possible. Its a learning process all the way.
However, keeping everything above in mind, I do not believe in compromising on the aesthetics of my clothes. Fashion is a visual language and although the process is as important in our practice, it cannot come at the cost of the aesthetics. I am trying to make the process complement and add to the conscious of the product and the buyer.”
“Recently I visited one of these really old women, who does flat-bed knitting in the city. Having a heart-to-heart conversation with her, she explained to me, how she was having a really hard time in finding workers for her. The youngsters are not interested in doing hand knitting or crochet or frame embroideries as it does not fetch them good money. So tomorrow if I do a collection using her flat bed knits, it would be an act of supporting a dyeing craft and one craftsmen thoroughly. I was recently reading the interview of a really famous and well established Indian designer who said that she had given clear instructions to her team, to never stop working with any group of artisans – once they are employed, its a moral step to keep innovating on the designs using their skills. In this way you end up supporting a huge population of labors. This for me is responsible design.”
As Baatein sums up the philosophy behind the brand :
At the threshold of life,
I turned to visit her again, before taking my flight
She stood there, her aged eyes, welling up with tears
She had created, nurtured and carved me
She had endured yet had strengthened me
and today, when I stepped into the world
Maai stood there, preparing for the separation
and I realized I wasn’t at the threshold of life
but the door of Maai
The Verandah, Bangalore
Vastra Gatha, Delhi