Door of Maai’s newest line-up has been made by female inmates of a correctional home
Ethical and premium ready-to-wear fashion label Door of Maai was launched in 2015 by designer Pooja Gupta, to make way for a line-up that’s not subjected to seasonality. Instead the brand leans towards classic, urban silhouettes which can be used and deconstructed in a versatile fashion. As part of a recent initiative to pave the way for gainful employment of female inmates of the Alipore’s Women's Correctional Home, the label has been training the women under its social department.
The vocational training unit aspires to empower them during this time in their life and also encourages inclusivity in employment within the design industry. In fact, Door of Maai just held their first ever exhibit titled EQUILIBRIUM which showcased the apparel and accessories made by the inmates.
The collection features myriad influences - the silhouettes are flowy, empowering and distinct. The accessories, too, have a really effortless funky edge, thanks to the upcycling process which often brings together unpredictable elements together. “The collection has been broken into two sections; 65% of the line-up has been created inside the correctional home, and the rest of the collection is entirely upcycled and made in-house. We have used organic cotton, handloom cotton and silks, the accessories are 90% upcycled silk,” Gupta tells us.
The process which the designer has undertaken is of course, not an easy one. Gupta also tells us how the label makes sure the work among the inmates is distributed according to their skills and interests.
“We have been training with them for three years now, and a lot of focus goes into honing their natural skills as well, what they like making. Since, it’s a for-profit social enterprise, the point is to keep them gainfully employed so they can generate an income of their own once they are out,” we are told. Gupta is also incredibly realistic when it comes to her approach to sustainability and acknowledges that it’s essential to be pragmatic with the entire process, without losing sight of the agenda.
“It’s about people, planet and the profit. Luckily, people are now conscious about what it is and how it benefits us all. There is a lot of awareness about consumption now, and people are now mindful about what they use; they are curious to know what they are wearing, if it's 50% biodegradable, the ethical avenues towards fashion. And our brand narrative also walks that same line,” Gupta adds.