At first glance, I know the brand name raises some questions about its pronunciation — its d-m-o-dot. The footwear label from Delhi started its journey as Dameriino in 2014, and founders Pranav Sawhney and Abhishek Sharma ultimately chose dmodot as the brand identity, and the dot as their muse.
When searching for leather shoes for men in the indie, Made in India space, I’m more skeptical than usual. Because there are simply too many people doing it. As a reader recently quipped in puzzlement during an Instagram chat, “It looks like the Government is handing out subsidies to set up footwear brands”. We had a good laugh, but it’s kind of true.
But did I find dmodot different from the crowd? Yes.
I really liked two things about dmodot’s offering. One, the number of models is limited. Two, the designs have a consistent sensibility about them, which can be summed up as stylish, but not over the top. That means while they do sometimes put a twist on classic shoe designs, it should appeal to you if you’re okay with some experimentation, as the execution is done well. And the consistency in design means if you like one pair, you’re likely to find a few more to your taste across different categories.
They have a pretty good, handpicked collection of footwear for men (along with a small selection for women too) and that doesn’t stop at just shoes. They’ve got loafers, sandals, slippers, leather sneakers and even juttis.
The pair of brown oxford brogues I have from dmodot, called the Carrero and now discontinued, do duty as the shoes I can wear with literally everything. They’re well made, really smart and comfortable.
dmodot: Should you? Shouldn’t you?
- Rich, natural shades of leather
- Twists and embellishments are done tastefully
- Quality materials: Many models use full grain leather and / or leather soles (may differ by design as per style and utility requirements)
- Acceptable pricing: Most styles are between ₹4,000-₹6,000
- Focus on comfort: My Carreros are extremely comfortable, partly thanks to the crepe sole
- Not many options for people wanting to stick to the classics without any tinkering
- Laces could be of higher quality
What brought me to dmodot’s leather shoes
My wife entrusted me with the responsibility to find her a pair of Chelsea boots. Since there are very few things I like more than discovering a new indie brand, I got to work fast. At first, I hit a familiar roadblock where you either find something with too much going on or it just doesn’t inspire confidence in terms of its quality. They are both no-go.
A little later, I found dmodot. I’d heard of them before, but hadn’t tried anything. Their mocha brown Chelsea boots looked classic enough and the price seemed right, so I gave in (Yeah, I’m writing a story about men’s shoes, when I actually first ordered women’s boots from dmodot). Within a minute or two, I received a phone call from Pranav, one of the founders. He confirmed my order, asked if it was a gift and whether I’d like to include a message with it. Every order ships with a personal, handwritten note from them. That incident stayed with me because it reinforced the personal element that can make transactions human.
This closeness was one of the things I wrote about in my story about why Indian homegrown, indie brands are on the rise. And it made me want to pay a visit to their office-cum-studio in Delhi’s Shahpur Jat to check out something for myself.
I found oxford brogues that could be dressed down and worn everywhere
The rich brown oxford brogues I have from dmodot, called the Carrero, are from their first collection and, unfortunately, they don’t make them anymore. They’re made of full grain leather, have a really lovely shade of brown that fades slightly differently in different parts and here’s what makes all the difference – they have a crepe sole.
Because of this crepe sole, the shoes have a look and profile that makes them perfectly suited to anything casual where you want to keep it smart. Smart is the operative word here, because most of the time, we’re got either something too casual, that isn’t formal at all or vice versa. In most cases, its the former – we underdress when in doubt. That’s where the Carrero comes to the rescue. The brogues are dressed down because of the crepe sole and orange laces, but your look is dressed up!
The rich shade of brown also means they can be paired with pretty much any clothing. I’ve worn them with jeans, khaki chinos, navy chinos and grey dress pants. They just haven’t felt out of place. A lack of smart, versatile shoes was a struggle I spoke about in my review of SVED’s wholecuts too.
But why are we talking so much about discontinued shoes anyway? Because they tell me so many things about the brand, its style and its approach to handcrafting shoes.
Living with the Carrero to understand dmodot
I looked at the the rest of the dmodot collection in the backdrop of my experience with the Carrero and found some common threads:
- They like doing limited production runs, so they can try new things and periodically introduce fresh designs.
- Their colours are done well – dmodot tend to keep shades subdued and classic, unless you look at the sneakers, which can get quite funky. They are, personally, outside my semi-conservative comfort zone.
- Comfort is a priority. My wearing experience with the Carrero as well as what I felt when trying different models validated that.
- While some of dmodot’s designs can get a little quirky, it’s done smartly and in a measured manner. The hofflers (basically clogs, mules or backless shoes) being a case in point.
- The people behind the brand are helpful, responsive, go the extra mile to fix problems and care about you enjoying their shoes.
So the stand-outs? Nicely executed colours, well-measured quirk and having footwear options that aren’t shoes.
Essentially, if you’re looking in the mid-range, check out dmodot before heading to one of the chain stores. You’re likely to find something a little unique and different, that checks out in price and quality. Their shoes are fun, stylish and don’t take themselves more seriously than they should.
The rest of the brand’s footwear collection
As I’ve mentioned more than once, I like that dmodot has options that aren’t just shoes. Because it’s the offbeat stuff that can be a bit difficult to find. Especially sandals and slippers to pair with ethnic wear. dmodot has some interesting offerings there, with tasteful twists – juttis, sandals and backless loafers. This is the stuff I struggle with every festive and wedding season. I do have a pair of faithful Kolhapuris, but getting one of dmodot’s offerings may be nice for some variety.
Apart from these, one of their newest releases called the Pulcro seems to me like the spiritual successor to my Carrero – the one pair of smart shoes, with a healthy amount of character, that can be worn with almost anything. It’s a tan tasselled loafer with a colour, profile and styling that allow it to go everywhere.
Founders’ take – Pranav Sawhney, Abhishek Sharma
Pranav and Abhishek started dmodot as Dameriino in 2014 and I feel the brand has been quite consistent in its philosophy and approach since. Styles inspired by classics, use of quality materials and a value-driven offering. Excerpts from a chat:
On design philosophy
“It’s pretty simple really. We keep comfort first, and look at introducing styles that would make our dots (customers) move slightly out of their usual style and try something new.”
On what a typical dmodot customer or ‘dot’ is like
“I don’t think it’s possible to classify them in a single style bracket. What is consistent is that dots care about their footwear. If you’re buying dmodot shoes, you know that shoes essentially perform two key tasks – literally connect you with the ground you walk on, and complete your outfit, whether sandals or boots. So you make style choices that are functional and comfortable. Even the Carrero you have is a good mix of classic style yet casual chic with the crepe sole and orange laces.”
Pricing and buying
Shoes for men range between ₹4,500-₹6,500. While slippers, sandals and mules are priced from ₹3,000-₹4,000. Overall, I find the price to quality ratio quite fair. They do run promotions now and then and some pretty sweet deals can be had at times, so follow dmodot’s Instagram page for all related updates or subscribe to their newsletter.
Regarding sizing and fit, I wear a UK 10, which is my usual shoe size, but the Carrero is a touch larger than what I’m used to for the size. So keep that in mind when you order.
Does dmodot look like your kind of Indian brand? Do you have a hard time looking for a particular kind of shoe or footwear – formal, smart-casual, versatile or otherwise? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this story interesting or useful, please spread the indie brand goodness by sharing it!