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The Center City Designer Behind a Cool Line of Hand-Embroidered Bags

Meet Gayatri Chopra of Simitri Designs.


simitri designs

Gayatri Chopra of Simitri Designs in her Center City apartment. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

What I Make: “Hand-embroidered bags and purses. We use sequins, beads, metals, and fabrics made with heritage Indian techniques like Kalamkari block-printing and Kutch embroidery. I moved from New Dehli to Philadelphia in 2015 and launched the business with my sister-in-law.”

How It’s Done: “I design my collections here and make three trips a year to New Delhi, where I’m from and where we do our manufacturing. I source raw materials there and work with artisans to produce the bags.”

What Inspires Me: “Walking in Old Delhi. I visit a historic street market called Chandni Chowk, which means ‘Moonlight Square.’ It’s busy and crowded, and in between the ruins of old houses, you’ll see beautiful shimmering beads, fabrics and crystals hanging on ropes and strings. I love the chaos within the structure.”

How I Began: “I studied fashion and wanted to do accessories. I got the opportunity to design 20 handbags for an Indian designer, Namrata Joshipura, for India’s Fashion Week. She used them on the runway, and they ended up featured in Harper’s Bazaar. I set up with a sewing machine in my parents’ garage and started making more bags.”

Best Recent Moment: “Seeing members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team carry our bags at the ESPYs this year.”

Most Popular Item: The Ombré Chunky clutch ($425). “People love the playfulness of the hanging tassel chains.”

The Latest: “I’m working on stadium-approved clear bags with customized sequins and embroidery in football team colors.”

Buy at: Simitridesigns.com, or Kin Boutique in Washington Square West.

Published as “It’s In The Bag” in the October 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.