A CUT ABOVE THE REST
NIFT | ESTABLISHED IN 1986
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.
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.
CLOTHES MAKETH A CLASS Ex-NIFT director Vandana Narang with students