Be it Aishwarya Rai’s outfits for Cannes or Karan Johar’s foray into fashion, clothes and their designers are always in vogue and get media attention. Edex throws the spotlight on the International Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD), Chennai, which offers courses in Fashion and Interior Designing.
With its tie-up with Annamalai University (AU), Chidambaram, INIFD offers diplomas in Fashion and Interior Design (lateral entry available for the latter), Advanced Diploma in Fashion and Interior Design, BSc in Fashion and Interior Design and MSc in the same subjects under the distance mode. INIFD does the personal contact sessions while AU takes care of the theory examinations. With its tie-up with Istituto di Moda Burgo (IMB), Milan, Italy, it offers a one-year foundation programme in Fashion Design along with two-year advanced and three-year specialised programmes.
Not just imparting theoretical knowledge, but making them adept in the nitty-gritty of fashion and interior design is INIFD’s USP, says Fareeda Khan, Director of the institute. “For example, take the role of IMB. Besides giving us the curriculum, which is international in standard, they train our teachers, and facilitate the exchange of students, primarily from our end. Such international tie-ups ensure that we have a project-oriented learning in place,” she says.
Speaking about practical learning, she says, “Our students spend a chunk of their learning period visiting Tiruppur and observing how garments are knitted and weaved. They are part of Lakme Fashion Week and other initiatives and get to learn practical lessons by being of help behind the scenes. Not just design, they have a hand in every department during such shows like styling, make-up, and other activities. A few designers like Neeta Lulla and Sidney Sladen have even recruited our students as interns.”
INIFD has six full-time faculty with about 10-12 visiting professors. They have a campus in Kilpauk in the city where about 150 students are enrolled in various courses. Fareeda does admit that most of their students are undergrads pursuing other courses in the city colleges and to accommodate all of them, separate morning and evening batches are run.
INIFD provides students with an informal ambience to grow and hone their knowledge, she says. Rajesh Kumar Pillai, a faculty member, says, “We teach students a bit of everything, fashion design, pattern making, basics of textiles and embroidery. Fashion design is not just about the dress. You really need to get into the skin of it; right from understanding the fabric to visualising how well you can make the model carry it off, you need to think about everything.” On the Interior Design front, they have former Bollywood star Twinkle Khanna on board as a mentor. “Twinkle has made a name for herself, and her insights are very helpful. Especially in the Interior Design space, there is a huge gap between what is being taught and what people want. With our lifestyles changing, it’s more about designing cosy and compact homes — as opposed to architecture that is not modern — and using eco-friendly material,” says Fareeda.
INIFD has a placement cell coordinated at the national level by the head office in Chandigarh. They mostly bank on internships that students undertake to convert them into potential offers. “This is a line which offers a lot of scope for entrepreneurship. I have seen a lot of our students starting slow, like helping their friends or relatives with dresses, make-up and then really hitting it big later with their own boutiques,” beams Fareeda. INIFD is looking at setting up a campus on Old Mahabalipuram road, Chennai, in 2015. Details at www.inifdchennai.com.
Deepak Jangid, a first-year student speaks of his experience during the Lakme Fashion week in Mumbai. “It was exhilarating to watch fantastic designers like Sonaakshi Raj from close quarters. I learnt that a lot happens in the spur of the moment during such exhibitions,” he says. He quips that he would like to dress Deepika Padukone or Shilpa Shetty someday for “they have the best bods in town.”