FAST FACTS : Prominent institutes: NID, NIFT, Pearl Academy of Fashion, Shristi, JJ School of Arts; Programmes: UG, PG; Selection for UG: Studio & written tests + interview; Aptitude: Interest in textiles and crafts, creativity, drawing skills; Who is hiring:Fabric retailers, export houses, buying houses, textile mills, handloom cooperatives, fashion designers, design studios and buying agencies. CHANDRASHEKHAR Bheda’s first brush with textiles was in Class 7, when his mother suggested he stop whiling away his vacation time and lend a hand in the local cloth shop. Here in his hometown Sangamner (Maharashtra), located in the belt of handloom weavers, he had to sell everything from materials and sarees to shirts, to people who came from the neighbouring villages. In retrospect, he feels the experience sowed the seeds for his future career path.
However, it was the 1970s, and design was an unheard of vocation in most households! But he was already winning art competitions in school and saw applied arts as an outlet for his talent as well as a way to earn money. So he pursued an undergrad diploma in textile design (TD) at the Sir JJ School of Arts, Mumbai, followed by PG in TD at the coveted National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. And his love for textiles is evident. Seema Mahajan is also passionate about textiles. “Fabric is so versatile,” explains the HoD of Pearl Academy of Fashion’s textile design department. For one, it is the raw material used not only to create garments and accessories like jewellery, footwear and handbags but also soft home furnishings like curtains, table linen, bed covers and kitchen linen.
The latter are used in residences, and in large quantities in sectors like hospitality and the medical field. Technical textiles with specific properties are used in fields such as defence and transportation. Designer Poorvi Mathur who pursued a PG in Textile Design at NID, assisted an architect during her final year project. “I designed a false ceiling of fabric for a cardiac rehabilitation centre (to improve acoustics),” she recalls. Hence, the challenge for any textile designer is to understand the end function and designing fabric, accordingly.
In textile paradise India, home to five basic fibres – silk, wool, jute, cotton and linen – is a mass producer of textiles. Within silk alone, India produces not one but six varieties including mulberry, tasar, eri and muga. Homegrown techniques like weaving, dyeing, printing and embroidery can be used to treat raw fibres in myriad ways to give them a complete facelift. This variety makes the canvas for Indian textile designers pretty exciting, and if you are willing to travel even more so.
Amole Singh Tomar Final year UG student in Textile Design, NID
Student exchange programmes is another value-addition. Amole, a final-year student at NID, had the opportunity to attend one semester as an exchange student at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD) in Paris, where he was exposed to transfer printing, knitting and other new techniques. He is now preparing to take on his final year diploma project in an upcoming area – automotive textiles, which involve designing the interiors of cars. “To bring in an Indian textile influence,” he shares.
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