It does not require a trained eye to know that theres much more to being a fashion designer than sketching out brilliant outfits. A lot goes into producing designs that can make eyes turn on the ramp or in stores. Though many fashion academies in India have incorporated subjects other than designing,many institutes still need to revise their curriculum to include hands-on experience to turn their students into useful contributors to the industry.
At a recent curriculum review meeting in the city,issues such as coping with the falling rupee,practical application of knowledge,international exposure and adapting international trends for Indian clientele were discussed. The meeting included government representatives,industry stalwarts and faculty of various institutes. City-based designer Nivedita Saboo,who was a part of the advisory committee,pointed out that an aspiring fashion designer is not only involved with creating beautiful designs on paper,but must also learn the technical aspects of the industry. From recognising the quality of fabrics to working with weavers to using new economical and utilitarian fabrics,the training of a designer needs knowledge and hands-on experience of the technical nuances as well.
A huge part of being a fashion designer is to be able to market your collections appropriately and successfully. Apt communication skills are essential for this. Designers must also work towards reviving dying crafts of India and develop them further. They must also learn to manage their finances in an intelligent way. We deliberated on all of these aspects at the meeting so that design courses may include them, said Saboo.
Manju Hundekar,principal of School of Fashion and Technology (SOFT) Pune,shares that they make their curriculum industry-friendly by including studies about different markets. Her students are taught about the demographics of the US,UK and Asian markets,which are very different from each other. A good curriculum has to include an exhaustive study of the different markets of the world. It helps students get a clear picture about the style preferences of different regions. We also teach students to adapt global trends to Indian sensibilities, she said.
Hundekar says they teach the students the trickle-down theory,which helps them explore Indian markets thoroughly. When peplum was hot on the international ramp,many Indian designers had also incorporated it in their designs,but with a twist. We teach our students to keep a tab on the international trend but to modify it in a way that would make it useful in India,or any other market they are targeting, said Hundekar.
Divea Grover,head of Fashion Art Design (FAD) International Academy,says they emphasise on adapting global trends to Indian utilitarian fashion while adding their own personal touch to it. We encourage a lot of research before the process of actual designing starts in the studio. We also encourage students to travel to rural areas,observe the work of artisans,and work with them to get an experience, said Grover. She pointed out that since the fashion culture is primarily based on drapes,whether it is saris,salwar-kameez or ghagra-cholis,students focus on draping constructional patterns and incorporate contemporary styles into it.
Speaking on the behalf of students,Tanvi Gupta,a second-year student at FAD,said the course should incorporate lessons in marketing and branding. Even if you have an awesome collection of designs,you must market it properly. Marketing and branding is as important as creative designing, says Gupta.