Unless you are familiar with the back lanes of the village, Peel Dori can be difficult to find. Squirreled away in a Jungi House basement for over four months, the store has just recently had its official launch, and contrary to popular perception, has nothing to do with Nappa Dori (although check out our review of CORD, where the connection is both strong and true).
Little turquoise colored matkas line the stairs going down to this basement store, where woman with a friendly smile – who we later discover is the owner and designer – greets us. Despite her guidance, we discover that Peeli Dori’s organization is more akin to a Buffalo exchange/ vintage shop rather than a “fashion store” – while this is something we’re grateful for, it also probably means that finding something we like at PD will take time and frequent visits.
We discover that Peeli Dori’s organization is more akin to a Buffalo exchange/ vintage shop rather than a “fashion store”.
Our debut trip then, entails familiarizing ourselves with the logic of the store, which is obviously still being worked out. The owner explains that “an entirely handcrafted and organic philosophy” defines the product selection, and everything on display comes from a different (Indian) craft cluster. She walks us through a sari section, a ceramic and clay home section – where we notice a set of nice, dirty pink mugs - and multiple racks of dresses and jackets.
Hem & Haw
We pause to ask about some of these garments, and learn that they move through multiple craft clusters during their cycle of production – dyeing and cutting for example, could take place in a state far from surface embroidery. We pause to digest a collection of handmade scarves, looking for the deep commentary in one design that features a print of an SLR camera, but it becomes clear quite quickly that analysis is not the goal.
No Point Crying Over Spilled Silk
We want to leave with something, but find ourselves at a loss. While the ethos of Peeli Dori is well-intentioned, the lack of cohesion in the merchandise ends up being more confusing than exciting. Moreover, the handcrafted philosophy falls into the trap of being morally good at the cost of being well-made and attractive– while we hate the stereotypical link between NGO work/workers and this aesthetic, we can’t help but point out that there is something here, woven in to the fabric of the ajrak sarees and the forgotten velvet cushions, that seems under duress.
We promise to come back soon, but know it’ll be a while. In the midst of this eclipse season, just for now, we need something brighter and happier.
Getting there: 5K/2 Dada Jungi House, Shahpur Jat, Rs 1,200 for a set of teacups.
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