From bell-bottom pants to ripped jeans and bold-colored Kurtas to printed t-shirts, the fashion statement of Indian men and women have changed with time. Today, the Indian textile industry is estimated around 108 billion dollars and is expected to reach $223 Billion by 2021. To support this growth, it is also estimated that the textile industry would require around 10 million trained workers, which would be a herculean task if we continue to provide fashion education focusing on urban population. Though, there are good number of fashion technology institutes today covering wide range of geographical locations to provide quality education for students belonging to different social strata, Nitin Magar, Founder and President of Maharashtra Kala Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, is considered as one of the early movers in this sector.
In 2001, Magar established Indian Fashion Academy (IFA). “Talent is everywhere, but many are not ready to join the fashion industry because of the language barrier. When we established IFA, our focus was on providing education to all. Therefore, we started teaching the concepts of fashion in vernacular languages such as Hindi and Marathi,” explains Magar. To fulfill the dreams of the forbidden ones, Magar and his team had to overcome a lot of difficulties in the initial stages. They created a curriculum in Marathi and Hindi and became the only institute in Maharashtra to start a special division for vernacular students. As a result, in its first few years of operation, IFA gained a reputation as a versatile brand in training students for the fashion world. This acceptance attracted students from all parts of the country and to fulfill their learning needs, eventually IFA had to change its medium of teaching to English.
Accredited by City and Guilds, UK, today IFA provides a wide range of courses pertaining to Fashion, Tailoring, Beauty and many more. “Our focus is not only on the academic training. We also connect fashion industry with our students through industry workshops, competitions and fashion carnivals. This will help students in getting more practical exposure and industry awareness,” claims Magar. The institute also conducts study tours, fashion shows and jury meetings every year to enrich students’ fashion ideas. These ideas are further enhanced by providing regular industry sessions by celebrities from fashion world who are keen on providing knowledge to students on various subjects using their real-life experience.
The programs offered by IFA are practical, hands-on and industry focused. One example is the IFA’s traditional core course named Diploma in Fashion Designing. Created based on real industry demands to prepare students for a life after their education, Diploma in Fashion Designing gives students a chance to understand the fashion Industry and to obtain valuable global outlook. The institute also offers one year Diploma and two-years Advanced Diploma in fashion and textile designing. “The Diploma Course includes a unique combination of certain practical and theoretical modules to equip a budding fashion designer. The program provides modules on design theory enabling them in understanding the origin and use of clothes,”. However, unlike other institute in this sector, IFA do not admit mass number of students in a single classroom. At IFA, the class sizes are limited to get maximum attention from students and the management ensures that the teaching and learning process occurs in a friendly and supportive environment. Currently, IFA has a team of over 54 faculty members who has been creating industry ready professionals.
“Most of our students are enjoying successful and fulfilling careers within the Fashion industry.” Indeed, IFA is the only institute providing fashion education to starts its own costume designing department to give on job practical training to the students. The institute also provides national and international internships to deserving students. On the flipside, renowned fashion designers serve as critics to students and fine tune IFA student before they enter into the industry. Today, with introduction of a large number of international luxury brands in the country, the fashion market is in dire need of trained professionals in the fields of design, management, communication and technology. The need of the hours is right fashion schools for the development of an impressive career in the alluring world of fashion Industry and IFA assures a generation of better professionals.