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 their bit to protect Mother Nature.

The brand aims to build a transitional wardrobe, taking the piece from day wear to evening wear – at all times remembering to incorporate any one ethical practice (organic/handloom/recycling). Building a transitional wardrobe – taking it from work to a casual dinner date.

 In conversation with founder and designer Pooja Gupta, who takes us on a tour inside the door; Door of Maai, a label which remains true to its core values – distraction free design and ethical making process.

1. What’s it like being in the industry?

I have a very personalised approach to the industry. I have clearly bisected it into the creative and commercial segments to try and maintain a balance between the two. The creative journey has been wonderful and fulfilling – We have received immense support from curators, organisers and bloggers. Sometimes, its tough to stand your ground and maintain your creative integrity when you have the pressure of giving in to fast moving mass-market designs – after all you need to run the business. But we are glad that we are slowly building the inner resilience to maintain our voice.

2. How do you make your label sustainable? What are the myths attached to sustainability?

At DOM we commit to using any one eco-friendly or sustainable design process. This could be the use of either GOTS certified organic cotton or handloom or khadi. Otherwise we up-cycle fabric waste. Last winters we did a small project to support the livelihood of a small craftswomen who had years of experience in knitting. For one of our collections we wanted to use machine-made silk and cotton-wool and were wondering how to stay true to our story. So we created and entire patch-worked lining fabric from scrap material and went ahead and fused it with the shell fabric.

The biggest myths are caused by the careless use of language. We don’t know the difference between the definitions of organic or eco-friendly or sustainable, to name a few. The meanings are conveniently overlapped and thus the integrity is lost. For example, any one who uses cotton or silk or any other natural fibre claims to be sustainable. Cotton is by far the most water consuming crop. Silk kills the silk-worm. In many cases a recycled polyester fabric could be a part of a closed-loop sustainable economy system rather than cotton.

3. You have associated with a couple of organisations and initiatives. How does it work?

Yes we have just launched the DOM Social League which is taken care by Sunita Gupta. She has been involved in a lot of social projects since twenty years and since we wanted to make DOM a democratic and inclusive organization, we roped her in to start her own projects under our label. Our first project was on the occasion of Mother’s Day at the Tata Cancer Research Hospital in Kolkata. St. Jude’s Child is an organization which takes care of the treatment for these underprivileged kids and their families. We conducted a 3 day long workshop to train them in making fabric products with DOM’s in-house scrap material. The second project was a tree plantation in our own backyard on the occasion of World Environment Day. We donated and committed to taking care of the tree which now grows under DOM’s supervision. To add a fun element, we invited a botanical artist over to our studio and spent the day playing a particular card game by the name of War Of The Garden’s which was developed by her.

Our most ambitious training project will be launched in July and we would be in a better position to throw some light on it, once it has been implemented

4. What are two pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe?
• An oversized shirt
• A statement watch


5. If not a designer, what would you be?
I would always like to be known as an entrepreneur.

Stray Style X Door of Maai | Graphics by Damini (Milzmili)


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