Madhur Bhandarkar’s award-winning film Fashion created a stir in the box office.
While it revealed the dark truth behind all the glitz and glamour, one can’t dispute the fact that fashion is a sought-after career. A pair of scissors, deft hands and wild imagination — can just pave the way to hone homegrown talent.
With increased awareness and exposure to changing trends, aspiration and sensibility have grown phenomenally and is largely influenced by films, the social media and the internet.
“Fashion has undergone a drastic change in the last few years. People are very much in touch with trends,” explains Amrita Gokani, fashion entrepreneur.
Today, the design industry opens up a plethora of career profiles and positions for students. A few of those verticals that require designers include export, retail, design houses, etc. Starting salaries are in the range of Rs 30,000 a month. Graduates who excel at college can expect a double of that figure!
“Earlier, our options were limited to a few big companies in the export domain. With the growth of retail and the realisation among the medium-to-small companies that design is an integral part of value added services, a lot more options have opened up,” said Sharad Mehra, Senior Vice President, Fashion & Textiles, Technopak Advisors Pvt Ltd.
Says Amrita, about her foray into fashion as an entrepreneur, “I love the fact that individuals in Bangalore take time out to dress well. It need not come with a heavy price tag. With the right contacts, I opened up a small store on Church Street. The store stocks export surplus garments in sync with international fashion at practical and affordable prices.”
Naturally, given this boost, she plans to bring home styles that are popular internationally, while the focus remains on offering them at affordable prices. Fashion and related apparel industries are one of the fastest growing verticals in this economy. Big brands dominate the market and all of emergent India seems hungry for fashion and lifestyle products. And Bangalore is an ideal platform to whet the consumer’s appetite.
“Industry giants like Arvind, Madura, S Kumar, Reliance and others offer the most successful fashion brands in the country to a fashion hungry Indian market,” explains Prasad Bidappa, fashion guru.
Case in point
With a supportive consumer, it’s no surprise that Ravina Belani’s penchant for chic design clicked with prudent shoppers of Bangalore. Ravina’s embroidered kurtis came into the market 10 years ago. “I started making mul kurtis that could be mix-n-matched with other outfits,” recalls Ravina. Thanks to an encouraging husband and keen friends, her first exhibition was a sell-out. That’s when she decided to join the desi design brigade.
Armed with a set of karigars and tailors, the self-taught designer started an eponymous line of ready-wear. While there’s an emerging breed of women operating from home, by and large, there’s a mismatch in demand and supply when it comes to fashion institutes.
“India has far too few reputed design schools. The truth is that only graduates from established schools like NIFT and PEARL are preferred by the industry,” said Prasad Bidapa, fashion guru.
Where to study
The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), which was started in 1986 has emerged as the premier institute of design, management and creativity, by providing a common platform for fashion education, research and training across its centres in India.
What gives it a distinct edge is that it has signed MoUs with leading international institutes. This alliance gives students the option of twinning programmes. NIFT also offers courses for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Undergraduate students applying to the four-year BF.Tech (Bachelor programme in Fashion Technology) can specialise either in design or technology. At the postgraduate level, NIFT offers two-year courses in design, management and technology.
WLCI Fashion School in Noida also has a pan-India presence. It has a portfolio of fashion courses that include illustration, design process, product development, trend forecast, pattern making, draping, surface ornamentation techniques and garment construction.
Students learn to develop textiles, conceptualise and produce a wide range of fashion products for men, women and children, along with design accessories. The Army Institute of Fashion Design, Indian Institute of Fashion Technology, apart from NIFT, are a few among the reputed institutes.
At T John College’s Department of Fashion and Apparel Design, students are encouraged to participate in workshops, besides visiting fashion industry houses and regular seminars. Students also undergo an internship programme at a garment industry/retail/ fashion house for two months as a part of the curriculum.
French Design Institute Lisaa School of Design, will soon make its India presence this year. The first branch will be operational in Gurgaon and the courses will start in August. Students can enrol for three-year diploma courses in Interior Architecture, Fashion design, Graphic design, Product design, or Animation and 3D software. The courses will be open to students who have passed the 10+2 exam. Prospective students have to pass a Lisaa Aptitude test and show creative ability and a passion for design.
Students who have passed Std 12 can appear for an entrance examination to gain admission into the courses offered. This will also include an interview and a group discussion to identify brilliant students. After completing the course, they can also work as fashion coordinators and merchandising executives.
With so many design options, what would be the fashion landscape in the coming years?
“With the economy growing at 8.5 per cent, and organised retail at 25 per cent, the future is bright. More fashion forward foreign brands are likely to enter India and Indian brands are fast becoming hot styles,” explains Mehra. “The fashion landscape will be more contemporary, bolder and affordable too.”