How is the field of Fashion and Design changing in India since the last decade?
Just as in the west, the past ten years have seen some momentous changes in the field of fashion and design in India. The advent of social media coupled with the Indian economy opening its doors to greater Foreign Direct Investment has meant a flurry of international high street retailers followed by their home grown versions. This has democratised fashion like never before. College and even school students have become very fashion conscious and aware of global trends. E-commerce has also fuelled this demand and supply. This has translated into more avenues of employment for new design graduates and more opportunities for entrepreneurship.
What are the job opportunities in India and abroad for graduate Indian designers?
There are different disciplines in design and the demand for designers is on the rise. According to the ‘Design Industry Overview’ by Hindustan Times the demand for designers is projected to grow from 7,000 in 2016 to 62,000 in 2020. The potential size of Indian design industry is US $2 billion which is expected to be $3 billion by 2020 (“Future of Design Education” BCL – NID report 2017) so there will be plethora of job opportunities for Indian designers.
India is slowly becoming a fashion destination for big fashion houses. Foreign companies are looking towards India to hire good Indian designers who are already adept to modern technical skills but with strong roots in arts, crafts and architecture.
The traditional art and craft in India is getting lost because of very less exposure. How do you think fashion institutions can help in the revival of traditional art and craft?
Fashion institutes can provide its students with the necessary exposure to our country’s rich heritage of traditional Indian art and crafts through a number of initiatives. Organizing workshops and visits for students to craft clusters can be one such step. We at Pearl Academy ensure that our students are in constant touch with the traditional crafts. We invite renowned artists and craftsmen to conduct workshops with our students. Recently we invited Ramesh Hengadi, acclaimed ‘Warli’ artist who participated in an interactive workshop with the students on ‘Warli’ painting at our campus. Visits to the craft clusters are organized for our students.
Some of our students from the School of Foundation visited Kagzi industry (handmade paper factory) where they were exposed to the process involved in the production of handmade paper products. Students also visited blue pottery factory where the process of making blue pottery was demonstrated to them. We try to give the best industry exposure to our students.
How is the synergy between students and faculty different in Pearl Academy compared to other institutions?
In earlier days, teachers were rather instructive in conveying knowledge whereas nowadays the idea of bringing industry into the classroom and opening the gateway to student interaction has become more mainstream, providing opportunities for greater student engagement. At Pearl Academy, the student-teacher ratio is low to ensure that one faculty caters to a handful of students and more individual attention is provided to students.
We are also of the thought that creative learning only happens through experiences. Learning confined to textbooks and classrooms does not help students. We have to move with the times and cater to the demands of the industry and learning pattern of today’s young minds. Today’s youth just need a guiding light to mould their talent and that is exactly what our faculty emphasizes upon.
Placement by the end of graduation is an essential question of all students. How does Pearl Academy help in internships or placements?
Pearl Academy goes that extra mile to ensure its students get a head start in their professional career. We witnessed an overwhelming start to the year as Accenture marked the beginning of our placement week, followed by companies such as Walt Disney and Capgemini. We are honoured to have such global companies visit our campus for placements. Pearl Academy has set high standards in the industry as far as placements are concerned. With 98% placement record in 2014, 96% in 2015 and 97% in 2016, Pearlites have become the hot favourites among big brands and organizations. In addition, we have an internal placement portal which is a support system that provides employers with a repository of young creative talent from Pearl. They can also post job vacancies, shortlist candidates and schedule interviews online through this portal.
HR Summit Series is organized where top recruiters from companies like Design World Wide, Furnish Your Dreams, Jabong, Abaxial Architects and PM Design visit Pearl Academy to discuss key issues of employability. Our graduating students are given an opportunity to showcase their creations through Portfolio which is an annual event across our campuses. This provides a unique platform to our students to interact with industry experts, entrepreneurs as well as media.
Other than the main streams of Fashion and Design what are the upcoming trends and discipline in this sector?
There has been a great interest in the Indian fashion and design space by international and Indian investors which has translated into a large number of indigenous start-ups. Subsidiary roles in fashion marketing, social media content generation, styling and visual communications, packaging design, visual merchandising, lifestyle product design and image management are just a few examples of new disciplines that are in high demand today. Additionally, following international trends, Indian agencies look for specialists in the field of fashion and film photography and journalism, celebrity styling and costume design, PR and event management, styling for weddings and even corporate image management.