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Fashion Designing 01

National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), at Hyderabad, is a fashion college that is heard of but not clearly understood. Situated deep within the concrete jungle of Hi-Tech city, the college deals with everything and anything related to fashion and its management. Fashion Designing is one of the six bachelor level courses offered by NIFT. Contrary to what people might think, this field is more serious than one may believe. It teaches the student all that he or she would need to know to become a fashion designer. The subject is vast and it requires the student to constantly update themselves on the current events of fashion and world as well. The mix of observation, creativity and inspiration are an essential formula that a student would require to study.

The first year is spent in the foundation program, where students are introduced to thousands of years of art, made to work with various materials like metals, wood and wires and by the end of it, perfected with the use of what will be your best friend for the next four years, the pencil (A word to the wise, if you’re not very good at drawing I suggest you better start practicing now!).  After the first year, the students get categorized into their respective fields of specialization as mentioned above. Let’s take a look at the subject of Fashion Designing. “Studying fashion is not easy, a lot of students come in here thinking that its very ‘fashionable’, which is not true. If you’re here you better be prepared for an extremely rough drive”, says Rakesh a fourth year student.

ITP project, credit: High Heels

ITP project, credit: High Heels

The course is taught with the help of thirteen subjects with Draping, Pattern Making, Fashion illustration Design, Garment Construction, Integrated Term Project (ITP) being the core subjects (the ones in which marks matter the most). Fashion Studies, History of Fashion, Marketing, Computer Application, Field Studies, Appreciation of Textiles, Photography and Surface Design Techniques being the others. The department is headed by Mrs. Malini. D, who is a competent faculty with an eye for design and a ear for the students’ problems. Though she is a strict person, it is only to control the maddening crowd of students, who would well have taken over the college if they had things their way! Most of the faculty are NIFT graduates themselves and others are definitely over qualified for the job, like Mrs. Nishrin, who has worked under names like Calvin Klein and is a student of Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York, one of the top fashion colleges in the world.

“We treat students like grown ups, they have to be responsible and dedicated to work. You cannot survive in the industry with sloppy work, they have to work day and night there. So we treat them the same way in here”, says Mrs.Fatima. The classrooms are well equipped with body forms and stitching machines; they don’t always work as one would want them to but they can be tamed! The lab assistants, namely Ms.Prathima and Mr. Rajesh are really helpful. They make sure that the students finish their work more than the faculty, even if it means they have to it take over themselves. A lot of lab accidents occur but only because some students do not focus while they work with their machinery. Being experienced with quite a few of such situations, the staff is quick to act .

The one thing that a student should be really wary of is the cash in the wallet. Every student agrees to the fact that this course comes with a price, a really big one. The fees per year itself amounts to a Lakh of rupees (Rs.1,00,000/-) and for the NRI students, it is Three lakh and sixty thousand rupees. (Rs. 3,60,000/-). From the cost of the material required for work to the stationary prices, everything is expensive and in a month an average student ends up spending (food included) about twelve thousand rupees (Rs.12,000/-). Although complaints have been made regarding these exorbitant rates, they only keep increasing it every year. Though student concession is given for those, who come from a low income family, it hardly covers the fee. “The fees are really high, the cost of that adds up along the way is even more, but I guess that’s how it will be in a course, where everything depends on the fabric and work quality”, says Madhu.

Working. Credit:High Heels

Working. Credit:High Heels

The required attendance from a student is 75% overall and 65% per subject. Many a time, the sick students attend the class as they fear the fact that if their attendance gets too low, they will be expelled and asked to continue with their juniors. “I had an accident because of which I couldn’t attend college for a month, and when I returned my attendance wasn’t enough, and I got expelled. It was harsh and I didn’t feel like coming back at all”, says Swathy, who would have been in the fourth year by now. The curriculum is not for the faint hearted because even though fashion sounds like a relatively easy and glamorous subject, there is a lot of stress, sweat, sleepless nights and blood (literally) that goes into it. Many a student has quit the college as the pressure really gets to them and just when they think that all is done at the end of the day, it isn’t. One particularly feisty student says, “People say ‘Oh it must be so easy, you must be having a ball’ – I say piss off!”

By the fourth year, its time for the students to leave, but not without a bang, students get their own fashion show and bow out to a standing applause (most of the time). All in all, Fashion Designing is an extremely interesting course, but not void of stress. Studying this course means you will have to sacrifice a lot but you do get the perks, like helping out for fashion shows, and seeing your own work on the ramp.

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