NIFT Chennai: Pioneers in creating fashion designers
NIFT Chennai
National Institute of Fashion Technology

To perceive Chennai today to be a regional town devoid of a sense of fashion is to remain delusional! Bringing the city firmly into the fold of “haute couture” and keeping it that way since 2007 has been the motive of National Institute of Fashion Technology, otherwise known by its famous acronym, NIFT Chennai.

A creation of the NIFT Act 2006, it is as statutory and seemingly iron clad as can be. There is though, an essential difference. It is perhaps the only such institute in the world to award its own degrees for undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral studies in the field of fashion education! It started small with just four courses and forty students, which today boasts of nine degree courses and several diploma and certificate courses with over 1000 students.

Couture in normal parlance stands for a sense of being elite, distinct, and haughty, none of which signifies NIFT Chennai. Compassion remains its driving force. The other factors which make the institute stand out are its concerns for social responsibility that makes it a platform accessible for everyone from every background, and an environment that encourages non-predictable thinking in realistic situations. Creativity being central to the field, education here is about self-learning and independent thinking with inputs coming from various sources including the industry, professionals, and live projects. Being hands-on field, interactions with practicing professionals via industry-led pedagogy and mentoring by industry stalwarts is practiced here with justified rigour. The institute professes and practices transparency in all that it does and gives equal opportunity to all aspirants of knowledge.

NIFT Chennai’s Charismatic Leader

Central to the growth and establishment of any entity, more so one in education of the couture kind, is its leadership which ought to have vision, values, and a drive. At NIFT Chennai since 2013, this has come about under the able leadership of Prof. Dr. Anitha Manohar, Director NIFT. A doctorate from Avinashilingam University for Women, and M.Sc. and M.Phil. from the University of Madras, she has over two decades of experience working at various institutes and has been instrumental in nurturing young designers to become promising entrepreneurs. Contributing to several social and design projects, she is also an empanelled PhD guide at NIFT who has to her credit research papers published and presented at known international fora.

A prestigious Guru Shreshta Awardee (awarded to teachers for excellence) and a Bharat Vidya Shiromani Awardee of 2017, she is the force behind the institute’s ranking to a proud number three in just a few years. Readily accessible, scrupulously honest and radiating warmth, she remains a favourite among the students, the community and in various government bodies. Compassion being central to her persona, she remains an able guide in all the social concern activities of the institute.

The Distinguished Faculty

A strong in-house faculty drawn from a distinguished group of intellectuals who have spent time to gain the right experience, form the team led by Dr Anitha. They are the ones who put forth a sense of dynamism and create a pathway to effective learning and facilitate meaningful interactions with industry for real-world experiences.

Besides these, NIFT leverages the potential of guest faculty and experts from various disciplines through a well-integrated academic plan where the industry exchanges its views with the students and faculty through seminars, classroom lectures and formal interactions on specific topics. The faculty also undergoes training regularly both within and outside the country by way of specifically designed training programs and sponsorships. A unique initiative is the faculty-industry attachment under which each faculty undertakes at least two weeks of internship in an industry of their choice to upgrade their knowledge.

Educational Content

The institute encourages its students to study and assimilate aesthetic industrial dynamics across levels and disciplines in the context of inquiry-based teaching and learning. These help in transforming students into professionals whose scope for employment remains vast. Making this possible is a remarkable array of courses such as:

  • Bachelor of Design (B Des) in
  • Fashion Design
  • Leather Design
  • Accessory Design
  • Textile Design
  • Knitwear Design
  • Fashion Communication
  • Bachelor of Fashion Technology (B FTech) Apparel Production
  • Master’s Degree Programs
  • Management- Master in Fashion Management (M.F.M)
  • Technology – Master of Fashion Technology (M.F.Tech)

The institute’s curriculum keeps in mind the future needs of the industry and ensures the all-round development of its millennial students. To this end, it has integrated general electives in large numbers, besides its main course to give the students a rich repertoire of experience and understanding. To aid the student`s research and education, the resource centre here comprises of more than 15,600 national, international books, journals, periodicals, and eBooks apart Wi-Fi being available on the entire campus.

The Award-winning Ambience

The campus of NIFT Chennai, conferred with the Journal of Indian Architects Award of 2002, is spread over 6.5 acres. Buildings here have unique angles, pockets and features that exude ‘kinetic aesthetics’ said to subtly encourage students passing by to think differently and out-of-the-box. The facility also has a gym, football, volleyball, and badminton courts.

Social and Cultural Activities

The bit to do with life takes place while participating in social and cultural activities on and off-campus. At NIFT Chennai, these are in the form of Cultural Club, Sports and Adventure Club, Environmental and Social Service Club and Literary Club. Of these, ‘Fashion Spectrum’, the annual fest provides a pulsating platform for students to showcase their talent in varied inter-college and intra-college activities and events. The best from these compete at ‘Converge’, a centralized cultural and sports event.

India’s clothing and design sense is like the mountains. Unfortunately, without the right encouragement and impetus, it is today scattered among artisans in different pockets of India. The institute has initiated a ‘Craft Cluster Initiative’ into its curricula that enables students to work in collaboration with artisans and show their creations at graduation shows at the end of every academic year, which are well-attended by the who’s who of the industry. These additionally help promote dying art forms and artists in dire need of patronage.

Inclusion part of values and ethos

Partnerships with the surrounding community undertaken as “Daan Utsav help” demonstrate that education is about values such as informed citizenship and a sense of responsibility. To this end the institute is strongly associated with the Spastic Society of India and Ability Foundation to nurture its students prepared to take up the complex problems of our society if they are to succeed in their careers.

Another initiative under its philosophy of inclusion is ‘Spectrum’, a unique event where specially abled children from various schools and institutes in and around Chennai showcase their talents on the NIFT platform. Each invited institution is mentored by a department with students and faculty teams interacting with the children to form a bond of familiarity, which enables the latter to perform in an alien environment with verve and confidence.

International collaborations

The world is a connected village where nothing works in isolation for long, for want to creative inputs and energies. The institute is thus connected through strategic agreements and partnerships with various leading international fashion institutes and organizations that share the same academic ethos and ideas. These international collaborations allow the students to experience study abroad options through exchange programmes as also facilitate their participation in international events and competitions. Students have won their share of laurels and awards at prestigious events.

Future Vision of the Institute

In passing, NIFT Chennai, a renowned centre of excellence and innovation foresees for itself the central role of a proactive catalyst in the growth of the fashion, textiles and craft business by providing the latest and best in professional education with marked concerns for social and human values. Education here would pertain to, among other things, design, technology, and management that would encourage its remarkably creative student body to draw inspiration from India’s textiles and crafts while focusing on emerging global trends relevant to the industries it serves.

Recent Posts