Dora by Phoenix’s Puja edit has quirky prints in vibrant colours

The brand has very unique prints on chanderi and cotton fabrics
Dora by Phoenix's festive edit
Dora by Phoenix's festive edit

Quirky prints in vibrant colours inspired by elements surrounding us defines city label Dora by Phoenix. Founded by Kakali Biswas about three years back, the label that started off with a fun mix of printed saris in natural fabrics, has created a strong fan base among young working millennials for the casual and fun style.

Their fresh festive collection before the Pujas have some of the sinful gastronomic temptations on print for you and Kakali decides to unveil the same with us.

<em>Dora by Phoenix's festive edit</em>
Dora by Phoenix's festive edit

Tell us all about your festive collection.

It will of course be mainly quirky prints. The colour palette will be bright, and currently, I am obsessed with colours because they bring out the joyful, cheerful, and positive side of us. Cotton is an eternal favourite but slowly I am shifting to other interesting fabrics like chanderi in which the prints are coming out brilliantly. The Puja edit will give you an idea of the same. There will be silks too but in a limited edition. I wish to keep the Puja collection fun, festive, functional and budget friendly -- something that can be oft-repeated, not too dressy yet not casual daily wear.

You opened your store just recently. How's the response been?

I am so happy that I could finally create a space for people to drop in and have a look at the products. The location was the main reason for me to take the call and the response has been great so far. I wish to make the place a comfort zone where one can drop in, have a cup of tea or coffee over adda and then shop a little. There’s a mix of saris, blouses, dresses, stoles, and dupattas here. 

<em>Dora by Phoenix's festive edit</em>
Dora by Phoenix's festive edit

How have you diversified from being just a sari label?

I am actually trying to convert the sari prints into co-ord sets, shorts, and kaftans. I have not made any collection yet but we do it on orders. This Puja, I'll formally launch a select few of them as the Founder's Edit.

What's your design inspiration? 

Everywhere I look around I find something inspirational! My regular cup of tea gave me my best seller chai sari. I went for an exhibition down south and got inspired while drinking filter kaapi and out came a sari. The suitcase sari happened while I was pushing my baggage at the airport. I draw inspiration from our daily mundane life.

<em>Kakali in one of her creations</em>
Kakali in one of her creations

You left a corporate job and followed your passion in design. How has the journey been so far?

It has been an amazing journey so far. Honestly, the love and appreciation have been overwhelming. When I started making quirky prints, I was not sure how they would be accepted. It feels great now that even 50-plus women are so enthusiastic about the prints. I have learned that like any other journey, you will have people who will want to pull you down, and want you to fail. You'll have to continue nevertheless. There is absolutely no substitute for hard work and if you work with honesty and transparency, people are going to love you and support you.

Tell us what's trending this Puja?

Puja means traditional of course, so, like always, there will always be variations on the eed border saris and I believe bright colours will play an important role.

<em>Dora by Phoenix's festive edit</em>
Dora by Phoenix's festive edit

You also started a home decor and knick knack label? 

Yes, I started the brand Red Letter Box in March this year with my friend Rijula Duttaroy. We both had a lot of leftover fabrics from our respective brands and did not want them to go to waste. So, we made coasters, and trays from them. We roped in a few local artists and got some paintings done which we printed on coffee mugs, table runners, mats, and wall hangings.

How do you approach sustainability as a clothing label?

I try to make saris that can be repeated and can be draped from morning till evening. That way a single sari can work as an office wear as well as an evening wear for any occasion. Pricing is also important. Sustainable is not expensive, hopefully I have been able to break that myth. If someone has bought a plain sari from Dora and wants to come back and get a print done on it from our collection, that is also something I do.

How tough is it for homegrown labels to survive?

In today's market it is tough given the fact that every second day there is a label coming up. You have to think differently, make things differently, build a strong customer relationship, keep your products affordable without compromising on quality and build the trust. 

What are the other collections you are working on currently?

A new batik series on chanderi and silk.

Price on request. 38/1 Purna Das Road

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