[Welcome back to the series “International Boho-Chic Designers”. I have met so many fashion designers and artists on my travels from whom I buy jewelry, swimsuits, tops, etc. I love having unique items and I’m creating this section to share them with you. These people I’ve met and personally shopped from & love, not people perking or paying me.]
DADAblui, well known in her Mermaids Boutique at the Saturday Night Market, is one of the first shops I knew of in Goa. She has a popular line that is “so Goa” I guess you could say. The owner and designer of it all, Katja, happens to live near me in a big old Portuguese house. When I told her I wanted to write about her, she invited me for coffee and we ended up spending our monsoon hanging out in our little village. Her vibe is like her clothes: laid back and cool.
Katja Grew, 44 was born and raised in picturesque Copenhagen, Denmark. She left at 20 with a serious case of the travel bug to live in Florence for a few years where she “accidently” came to India in 1993. At 23, she knew she’d fallen in love with India- and the rest is history! She’s been here ever since. In 2003 she started DADAblui also sort of on accident while making clothes for herself and realizing how much everyone loved them.
I asked Katja who inspires her and she told me,
“I get inspired by people who dare! People who are not following a trend, but have their own original clothing style: colourful, exotic, and different. I believe style is an attitude.”
You can tell from looking in Katja’s bright home or by the clothes she wears every day that she loves COLOR. India is so full of bright fun patterns on textiles. She also uses the nature and hippies of Goa for more inspiration.
DADAblui makes unique tropical luxury clothing an accessories in Goa. Her fabrics are some of the coolest bits with leather, cotton, and silk mixed in with antique sari borders or vintage mirror work from Rajasthan. When you see one of Katja’s famous leather jackets you can tell it was made by her.
Other than leather jackets, she makes amazing leather bags, dresses, shirts, cotton bags, t-shirts, and cushion covers, many of which have her favorite saying, “It’s Better in Goa”. I love that her clothes are fashionable and trendy but has that colorful Indian vibe mixed in so easily.
DADAblui, The brand:
The name is so strong and has the cutest back story. Katja could not pronounce her name as a child and had a lisp so she called her self Dada instead of Katja. Her 3 younger sisters are still calling her Dada. Blui was because she couldn’t say Grew, her last name. “I chose the name for my label cause it’s original and reflects my inner child, and it sounds like MIUMIU ;)” -Katja
A few years ago DADAblui teamed up with SEWA in Delhi, which is a NGO that helps women in indian rural areas. Katja has been in India long enough to call it home and feels a deep desire to give back to her new beloved community. The women are making stunning bead and sequence work for her which you’ll see in her new bags / small purses this season. The collection is called “Dharma Collection”. They’re also making “Goa” silk cushion covers, which are so beautiful. Katja promises that this season will be even more colorful and daring with all her new ideas.
I asked Katja why her brand is great for travelers like you:
“A lot of the clothes I make, can be used for beach or party, according to how you dress it up or down.”
“My leather jackets and bags are ethnic and cool. When worn in Europe, they just have that understated Indian twist.”
Where can you buy DADAblui?
Year round you can buy from DADAblui wholesale or retail from her showroom in Assagao, Goa. It’s near Indian Story and Happy Bar, and will also pop up on Google Maps, but you can contact her first and she’ll help you if you get lost.
During season time (November to April) you can also find her jackets and other tropical luxury designs at “Mermaid’s Boutique” at the Saturday Night Market in Arpora and the Wednesday Anjuna Flea Market. If you’re not going to be in Goa, have no fear- she sells online on the DADAblui website.
Just last week, Dadablui is being stocked in the Goa Shop in Thalassa as well.
If you have questions or want to contact Katja Grew, you can e-mail her at katjagrew (at) hotmail (dot) com or call her in Goa at +91 9822197015. Until then make sure you’re following along on her Facebook page to get that boost of color and hippie vibes to your newsfeed every day: Dadablui Facebook Page.
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