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An ex-student ‘s view of India’s premier institute: \r\nAnika Jain is a NIFT (Gandhinagar) graduate – 2000 batch.\r\nShe retails under the label Anika in Ensemble (Mumbai, Delhi) branches and Elan (Ahmedabad) \r\n\r\n1. To be a successful designer is a NIFT fashion design course all that essential?\r\nA course at NIFT does give you a lot of technical input, but when you are working it\’s a completely different ballgame \’cause it is nothing you have studied. NIFT doesn\’t teach you the marketing factor well. Also NIFT doesn\’t teach you much of the domestic market techniques where Indian pattern cutting and embroidery are the basic requirements. They stress too much on patternmaking and garment construction, which we never end up doing ourselves. Also inputs like design development, forecast interpretation, fabric sensibility, which are required in all prospective jobs, are not taken as seriously as they should be. \r\n\r\n2. What is a NIFT student\’s standing versus someone from institutes like JD etc?\r\nWell, compared to a smaller institute the quality of inputs, NIFT are good. Also NIFT has better facilities like a good resource centre, best of machinery to learn on, foreign faculties plus interaction with various people from the industry.\r\n\r\n3. What after NIFT? How many actually start their own label? \r\nI think only 2-3% start their own label, as it requires a lot of investment. There is always the risk factor and then the problem of getting good outlets to sell your product. Other career options could be working in an export house or working under a designer. \r\n\r\n4. Do established designers prefer NIFT students?\r\nUsually yes. All designers want a qualified employee, but they do take interns from other institutes if they feel the students have the potential.\r\n\r\n5. What other career alternatives are there after fashion design? \r\nMany go into other design related fields like visual merchandising and graphic designing. Or they become a fashion stylist, photographer, a sample coordinator in export houses, a freelance designer, a design consultant…basically anything that requires a design sense.\r\n\r\n6. How good are the part-time courses at NIFT?\r\nAs far as I have heard, they are usually for time pass. Even the faculty does not take these courses seriously. All these courses are extremely expensive and cater to rich students who couldn\’t get through regular college. These students are rarely serious about pursuing fashion as a career. Then of course they like to flaunt the fact they are a NIFTian. There are some good, but highly specialised courses, that cater to people from the industry. \r\n\r\n

JAM notes:\r\nNIFT Delhi has the most courses and “naam”. Among the rest, Gandhinagar and Chennai reportedly have excellent faculty. NIFT Mumbai is coming up well.

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