A CUT ABOVE THE REST

NIFT | ES­TAB­LISHED IN 1986

India Today - - STATES - —Shelly Anand

DREAM EN­TER­PRISE

NIFT be­gan as the dream of a few in­di­vid­u­als, among them cul­tural ac­tivist and writer Pupul Jayakar, to build an in­sti­tu­tion that could train a gen­er­a­tion of youth to ap­pre­ci­ate the craft legacy of the coun­try. The in­sti­tute started out of a small makeshift area at the Indira Gandhi In­door Sta­dium, Delhi, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Fash­ion In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, New York, whose ex­perts not only trained the ini­tial batches but also most of the early fac­ulty at its New York cam­pus. The tra­di­tion con­tin­ues, with stu­dents be­ing of­fered ex­change and dual de­gree op­tions abroad. Oper­at­ing out of 16 cam­puses across the coun­try now, NIFT runs a multi-faceted cur­ricu­lum on tra­di­tional crafts, sci­en­tific design prin­ci­ples, mod­ern tools and state-of-the-art equip­ment. It has given us well-known fash­ion de­sign­ers such as Man­ish Arora, Ritu Beri, J.J. Valaya, Pra­bal Gu­rung, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Ro­hit Bal.

NIFTY PLANS

Ac­cord­ing to cur­rent di­rec­tor gen­eral Sarada Mu­raleed­ha­ran, “Among the pri­mary ob­jec­tives NIFT charts out is to make our tex­tile and craft-based in­dus­tries more con­tem­po­rary and rel­e­vant. The crafts sec­tor has lost much of its rel­e­vance in the past 200-odd years. These in­dus­tries sur­vived the cul­tural in­va­sion of for­eign life­style and con­sum­ables into the new mil­len­nium, though feed­ing on morsels of the econ­omy.” The chal­lenge for NIFT is to cre­ate an in­tel­li­gentsia that can cre­ate de­signs that will be rel­e­vant to the mod­ern In­dian life­style, but which em­ploys the crafts sec­tor in its pro­duc­tion. The in­sti­tute, there­fore, is work­ing closely with the tex­tiles min­istry in pre­serv­ing and de­vel­op­ing In­dia’s craft her­itage.

RAJWANT RAWAT

CLOTHES MAKETH A CLASS Ex-NIFT di­rec­tor Van­dana Narang with stu­dents

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