A Day at the Atelier: The Craftspeople Behind Purvi Doshi

Purvi Doshi’s eponymous label makes beautiful clothes in an equally beautiful way. Collaborating with over 300 artisans across India, the brand ethos is all about celebrating local crafts and craftspeople. From delicate hand embroiderers to weavers, founder Purvi Doshi introduces us to some of the special faces in her atelier. 

My journey to founding Purvi Doshi started when I was just a little girl. 

I was very fond of dressing up and looking my best, yet coming from a middle-class background it was not always possible to be fashionable and trendy. It was only later, once I got to college, that I realised that I was very tired of the regular stuff that the tailors were providing. I decided to try my hand at designing my own clothes and getting them stitched by the tailors. My college friends saw the difference and wanted me to do the same for them.

My real initiation into the world of fashion designing started from there. I set up a small workshop in the basement of my home and, together with a tailor, and started catering to friends and family. Slowly but surely the word spread about my designing skills and I plunged into the fashion world. Even now the brand is bigger, I make sure to spend time with the artisans and the tailors working on our new creations and explorations. I’m always busy with meetings too; having discussions with the production team, the design team, the marketing team, the sales team and the accounting team. I have always believed in the fact that it is necessary to continuously evolve, which makes me take up new projects, meet new people and explore different crafts. 

It feeds my soul when a satisfied customer tells me how they appreciate my designs and my initiatives into sustainability. Nonetheless, being a designer on the sustainable path, the resources available are very limited. You need to be very creative with the designs, the materials and the colours at hand. Keeping the quality up to the highest mark and still staying in the path of sustainability is one of the challenges that I face on a daily basis, and the artisans on the team are always helping me with their sheer creativity.

Seema Chauhan specialises in Aari work

Our extremely delicate skilled hand embroidery – Aari work – is perfected by Seema Chauhan on a daily basis. She works hard and has mastered these skills over years of practice. Seema enjoys the daily challenges that come with our evolving garment designs that require careful refinement and detailing. Each day, she works from home while she takes care of her family. The freedom of time enhances her creativity and we find it truly special to have Seema as a part of our ever-evolving journey. 

Seema often mentions that when she was a child, she would see her grandmother and mother practising Aari work. The motion of the needle as it dipped in and out of fabrics was something that truly mesmerised her. Before she knew it, the craft became a major part of her life and she continues to experiment with it to date.

A typical day’s work for Seema is nothing short of unique. Each day is different due to her evolving techniques and our progressive designs. She believes that embroidery is best done in a single sitting because it keeps her concentration at a consistent level. It also helps her enjoy the craft to the fullest and complete the piece faster. 

For Seema, her job is her joy. Everything that comes with it is something that she welcomes and looks forward to. But for Seema, her life doesn’t end or begin at work. It starts with her family and stretches to the passion she has for embroidery. She finds that in order to perfectly balance her work and family life, she has to commit to her independency and time-management skills. She believes that reaching this balance is the true challenge and reward at the same time for her as well as for her family.

Kanubhai Darji is the head pattern maker

Our master tailor and head pattern maker, Kanubhai Darji, has been a part of our family for the last ten years. His last name – Darji –directly translates into ‘tailor’ in English. His profession has been a part of multiple previous generations in the same family line. This has nurtured his keen eye for detail and an enthusiasm that never runs dry. 

Kanubhai’s journey towards his current work started when he was merely ten years old. At that young age, he had already started to convert discarded fabrics of denim into wallets, and t-shirts into caps. But his real tryst with stitching started when he first saw his mother struggling to get a garment fitted right. His interest peaked and suddenly, he found himself on the course of turning his hobby into a profession.

A typical day’s work for Kanubhai involves developing patterns of our designs, perfecting the fitting of the garments and managing the tailors under him. He keeps up with his tight-schedules and evolving responsibilities by making sure he follows a healthy lifestyle with morning exercises. 

For Kanubhai, the most challenging part of his job is to continue his consistency in achieving perfection. Since he likes to work on a lot of different tasks, reaching the standards that he has set for himself often becomes challenging when it comes with a time constraint. When clients are thrilled after wearing a perfectly fitted garment, he’s at his happiest. Creating a refined piece, too perfect to be true, motivates him to work harder and evolve daily in his work. He says when he saw that the garments he helped to create as part of fashion shows worldwide, he felt that all his dreams have come true.