Fashion studies move beyond the 'image' trap

Learning how to produce clothes is just the tip of the iceberg in the industry, says Pearl Academy’s new CEO to Parvathi Benu

Published: 10th October 2016 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th October 2016 03:51 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Trends and consumer needs in every industry change every year. Most of the time, professionals find it difficult to cope with this change. But Nandita Abraham, the new CEO of Pearl Academy has a solution for this. She is training her students with future jobs in mind. With more than two decades of experience across corporates in India, USA and Hong Kong in the areas of strategic marketing and academic management, Nandita talks about her future plans and how they can help the students of Pearl Academy. Excerpts from our conversation...

How does it feel to be the CEO of a fashion academy?
I’m very excited. I’ve been with Pearl for the past 15 years as a faculty member. Then I was the Head of Business and looked after corporate relations and marketing. I’ve had exposure to different fields that an academy can associate with. That is something that drove me. This is a student-centric organisation. We’re always looking for new ways for our students to benefit. Becoming the CEO has given me a greater chance of working in those grounds.
Are there expansion plans?
Yes. We’re growing in two ways — geographically and through new products that are futuristic. We opened a campus in Mumbai in 2014. We’re exploring the south as well. We have students from Kerala and Karnataka who are doing well.
What new courses are you planning to introduce?
Fashion Design and Fashion Business were the main courses we had. But over the years we’ve changed. We’ve been concentrating more on the creative side now. In fashion, as the industry has changed, we have introduced Fashion Styling and Image Design. That concentrates more on designing the image for films, movies etc. There is also Media Communication and Fashion Communication to establish a better connect with the related fields. We’re developing professionals for careers of tomorrow, which are creative and not necessarily in fashion. Two fields we are looking at now are Sports Management and Journalism. Journalism is changing rapidly these days. As sports developed as an industry, we need people who can manage things as well as understand the industry and the game. We have a good rapport with Escuela Universitaria Real Madrid Universidad Europea and are launching the new courses alongside this Spanish university.

Does student exchange help?
Our students go abroad and work. There are two options; in one, students can study a semester abroad and the other is a summer course. We have four students in Paris right now. We have tied up with designer Rahul Mishra, who showcases at the Paris Fashion Week twice a year. He allows our students to work with him. Students work there in conceptualising, production, shoot etc. They also get great exposure where they get to meet people from different areas. This is a life-changing exposure, especially for students from small towns like Agra or Kottayam.

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