Design is art with a purpose. If one were to go by this definition, one will realise that everything around us be it the clothes one wears, the refrigerator or a television set or even the comfortable car seats that are so much a necessity in our lives are all a result of a designer’s self-expression. In short, design is life itself.
In the present context, designing is a highly specialised field that requires creative and technically trained experts who have the acumen to plan and shape products and optimise their functionality. Careers in design range from industrial design, jewellery design, accessory design to fashion design.
The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and National Institute of Design (NID) top the survey carried out by CFore for HT Horizons. Both these institutes promote a culture that harnesses design competencies and set standards in design education. According to the survey, NIFT scored 126 points out of 150 for infrastructure and support systems, 163 out of 200 for placements and 219 out of 250 for competence of faculty.
What is it that gives NIFT an edge over other institutes? NIFT set up in 1986 under the aegis of Ministry of Textiles, GOI has emerged as a pioneer evolving fashion business education in the country through a network of professionally managed centres at Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Kangra, Kannur, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Patna, Raebareli and Shillong.
Starting this year, two new NIFT centres will commence in Bhubaneswar and Jodhpur. The NIFT Act in 2006 confers statutory status to NIFT, empowering it to award degrees and other academic distinctions. It is also the first institute in the world to award its own degrees in fashion education. “The combination of trained and committed faculty, a cohesive and nurturing environment for contextual learning with innovative curriculum and pedagogy in design, technology and management in fashion, gives NIFT a distinct edge over other institutes,” says Rajiv Takru, director general, NIFT.
The courses on offer at NIFT include bachelors programmes in fashion design, leather design, accessory design, textile design, knitwear design and fashion communication. In addition there is a Bachelor’s programme in fashion technology (apparel production). Master’s programmes include design, fashion management and fashion technology.
The number of applicants to NIFT has been rising. In 2010, there have been over 20,000 candidates. The increase in the intake of students is also consequent to the decision of the Supreme Court and Government of India to increase NIFT seats by 54 per cent during 2008-2010 to fully implement the OBC quota, he says.
NIFT also offers PhD in the areas of design, management and technology. The programme is designed for the purpose of carrying out research in textiles, fashion and the apparel sector to create a body of original knowledge for the use of academia and industry at large. The first batch of PhD students is currently undergoing the programme.