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Weaving a Future | Best Fashion Colleges in India

About 70 per cent of fashion designers in the country have graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT)-Delhi. It was also the only Indian institute to feature in the world’s 20 best fashion institutes in 2017. The institute that has always encouraged creative thinking in its students is today the frontrunner in fashion education.

Established in 1986 under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles in technical collaboration with the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, NIFT-Delhi, in its 33 years of presence has not only trained and skilled the best of the best, but also given India some of its top designers. According to Professor Vandana Narang, campus director, NIFT-Delhi, “As we are the oldest NIFT campus, we have the most experienced senior faculty with us who are passionate about their work and have a strong sense of ownership. These are the things that make the institute different and unique from others.”

While it is quite easy for any institute to become lax once it gains recognition, NIFT-Delhi refuses to rest on its laurels. It is always in the process of reinventing and re-evaluating itself. A complete overhaul of its curriculum in 2017 is an example of this constant evolution. “We did a disruptive change while reworking the curriculum, keeping in mind the shift in industry and technology, so that our students get to learn what is the need of the hour,” says Narang. The new curriculum now offers students of fashion design a chance to minor in courses such as management and technology, besides two general elective courses every semester-ranging from personality development, communication skills, yoga and meditation, languages and cultural studies.

Quick to introduce the latest in the field of technology and include it in its methods of imparting education, the institute has also started working with artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

Professor Vandana Narang, Campus Director, NIFT-Delhi

What sets us apart?

We are the oldest NIFT campus and have the most senior faculty members with us. We constantly reinvent and re-evaluate ourselves. We inculcate creative and critical thinking in our students.

New initiatives in the past three years

The curriculum has been completely reworked keeping the needs of the industry in mind and new subjects introduced.

One thing I want to improve in the institute

More space to expand the campus.

What makes a student shine at NIFT?

Motivation, passion, an eye for detail.

Pushp Gund, 3rd year, Bachelor’s in Fashion Design

What’s unique about life on the campus?

The campus is always brimming with activity. There are frequent industry visits, cultural and extra-curricular events. The international linkages give students enough exposure and a sense of confidence. The several learning opportunities, such as craft cluster visits, during the course, a chance to work with leading lifestyle brands and freedom to experiment and learn first-hand are a few other advantages.

One change I want in my college

I would like a cricket ground on the campus.

Rs 10,000 was the average stipend earned by NIFT students of the 2018 batch during their internships

“There was the need to change the curriculum and bring in new technology, as we realised that we were teaching 21st century students 20th century techniques and an 18th century curriculum,” says Narang. As fashion is constantly reinventing itself and is all about change, new areas of studies have emerged in fashion education. Surface ornamentation is one such niche segment; handmade is another key stream. If khadi fabric is an important trend, then sustainable and slow fashion are on the other side of that spectrum. The institute always ensures that its students stay abreast of such trends during their course and are sensitised about the same.

The Mexican cheese sandwich and paneer Maggi are the most popular dishes at the NIFT canteen

THE X-FACTOR: Students preparing for an upcycle fashion show at NIFT Kolkata.

While motivation and passion are crucial for any student to make it to NIFT-Delhi, some of the other skills required are an unerring eye for detail, a sense of colour and basic drawing abilities. The course is so rigorous that one can see a complete transformation in the students at the end of their course. Four years of their education on the campus, and they step out thoroughly polished and honed.

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