“True cre­ativ­ity comes straight from the heart”

Lead­ing 14 cen­tres of the National In­sti­tute of Fash­ion Tech­nol­ogy is no mean feat. P. K. Gera, the di­rec­tor gen­eral of this 27- year- old in­sti­tute tells Son­ali Achar­jee how hard work and in­no­va­tion are key to suc­cess

India Today - - ASPIRE - P. K. GERA / Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, National In­sti­tute of Fash­ion Tech­nol­ogy

Last year, Prem Kumar Gera, an 1985 batch IAS of­fi­cer, was ap­pointed the di­rec­tor gen­eral of the renowned National In­sti­tute of Fash­ion Tech­nol­ogy ( NIFT). Hav­ing pre­vi­ously served with the Cen­tral In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sion in Delhi, Gera is now look­ing af­ter all NIFT cen­tres in In­dia. Th­ese in­clude Delhi, Mum­bai, Kolkata, Kan­gra, Gand­hi­na­gar, Hyderabad, Chen­nai, Ban­ga­lore, Rae­bareli, Patna, Shillong, Bhopal, Tali­paramba, Bhubaneswar and Jodh­pur. In his short span as di­rec­tor gen­eral he has al­ready wit­nessed many stu­dent achieve­ments as well as con­tro­ver­sies at the in­sti­tute. From the much- de­bated 40 per cent fee hike in tu­itions at NIFT to stu­dents from the tex­tile de­sign course in Delhi emerg­ing as win­ners at the pres­ti­gious World of Wear­able Art Con­test held last year in New Zealand, Gera knows how to deal with both suc­cess and fail­ure. His phi­los­o­phy? Take life with a pinch of salt and never stop striv­ing for perfection.

LIFE AT NIFT As a fash­ion and de­sign school we are con­stantly look­ing for new ways to add to our reper­toire. In the last few years we have placed spe­cial em­pha­sis on pro­mot­ing in­ter- dis­ci­plinary stud­ies. This helps to pro­vide stu­dents, in one course, a ba­sic idea of other as­pects of the in­dus­try as well. For ex­am­ple, some­one in fash­ion de­sign will learn about man­u­fac­tur­ing and man­age­ment as well, giv­ing them a holis­tic view of the en­tire process. We have also in­sti­tuted sev­eral prac­ti­cal pro­grammes where stu­dents get the chance to go on field trips and learn from lo­cal crafts­men from across the coun­try. Ed­u­ca­tion is as much about per­son­al­ity de­vel­op­ment as it is about skill de­vel­op­ment. Th­ese trips help in that re­gard. Our fac­ulty too have been busy un­der­tak­ing in­dus­try projects and re­search. Last year we de­signed fan mer­chan­dise for the Delhi Dare­dev­ils which was a huge suc­cess. There is a spirit of in­no­va­tion and a hunger to do more at NIFT which is what makes both the en­vi­ron­ment and work ex­pe­ri­ence so unique.

CHARG­ING AHEAD Life is cycli­cal. There will be good days and bad days. What re­mains im­por­tant is not to loose sight of your goals and dreams. There is very lit­tle that can be achieved through com­plain­ing or fo­cus­ing on the neg­a­tive. At NIFT we have tried to fol­low this prin­ci­ple and are al­ways look­ing ahead to­wards the next set of pos­i­tive changes that we can make to­gether. In the com­ing few years, the head of­fice of NIFT in Delhi is set to get an in­fras­truc­tural makeover. We have com­mis­sioned a new seven- storey build­ing that will be built within our ex­ist­ing cam­pus. The build­ing will fea­ture state- of- the- art de­sign equip­ment and labs. As our stu­dent com­mu­nity con­tin­ues to grow, we need to con­stantly up­date our fa­cil­i­ties if we wish to con­tinue pro­vid­ing a pro­duc­tive learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for all. We are also look­ing at ways in which to in­crease our in­ter­ac­tion with var­i­ous alumni mem­bers. Stu­dent of­ten love to re­visit their alma mater and we are more than ea­ger to host them.

WORDS OF WIS­DOM One should never shirk work or avoid tak­ing up new projects. If you can learn to adapt to dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances and sit­u­a­tions with ease then there is very lit­tle that will hold you back. This is some­thing that we strive to teach stu­dents at NIFT; the ben­e­fits of be­ing flex­i­ble, in­no­va­tive and en­thu­si­as­tic at both work and col­lege. Also it is im­por­tant to al­ways be open to con­struc­tive crit­i­cism as this will help to hone your skills and de­velop your per­son­al­ity in the long run. Learn­ing does not end with a grad­u­a­tion de­gree. It is a life­long process and one should grab ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to add to their ex­ist­ing knowl­edge base. I also be­lieve that stu­dents should keep on chal­leng­ing them­selves to im­prove on their strengths and weak­nesses in­stead of re­main­ing stag­nant. With tech­nol­ogy and glob­al­i­sa­tion catch­ing up, the pos­si­bil­i­ties of what one can achieve to­day are end­less. This gen­er­a­tion is lucky to have so many creative out­lets and op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able. So make the most out of what both life and col­lege can of­fer you.

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