In a conversation with Careers360, Colonel Subroto Biswas (retired), Director, NIFT Kolkata and Shillong, shares his insights about emerging areas in the fashion industry. Col. Biswas talks about how NIFT alumni members help in curriculum development as well as placement of students of current batch.
Read below the interview where Col Subroto Biswas speaks about key challenges that fashion and design education industry is facing today. According to him, imbibing relevant practical concepts and hands-on skill development in students is the main area of concern. He also shares the transition of fashion and design education from traditional pedagogy to software based applications.
Excerpts from the interview:
Careers360: How has been the application trend at NIFTs over the past few years?
Col Subroto Biswas: During last few years, the trend of receipt of applications for admission across NIFTs is very encouraging due to inclination of younger generation to pursue fashion as career. However, the data of student admissions is centrally maintained by admission department at head office of NIFT.
Careers360: Have you introduced or planning to introduce special course (s) at NIFT Kolkata?
Col Subroto Biswas: We have introduced Bachelor of Design in Fashion Communication and Fashion & Life Style Accessories in the year 2013.
Careers360: Please share significance and relevance of the offered programmes in today's time.
Col Subroto Biswas: Depending on ever increasing demand in the present scenario, the above two newly introduced courses have shown good results. A lot of aspiring candidates get enrolled in these new emerging fashion programmes.
Careers360: Are you planning to bring any change in the flagship programme curriculum for the upcoming academic years?
Col Subroto Biswas: Regular market research is done at head office level to assess demand of the market. Accordingly, curriculum review meeting is held at regular intervals at NIFT. In such meetings, chairpersons and programme coordinators of different departments of all the campuses participate to review the curriculum and modify as per the market trend.
Careers360: What are the key challenges that fashion & design education face today? How do you tackle them?
Col Subroto Biswas: The major challenges that we are facing today include imbibing relevant practical concepts and hands-on skill development in students, rather than just knowledge inputs, which can be procured or provided by several other resources like internet, etc. We are striving hard to provide more industry exposure to our students. We have increased the number of industry visits & internships, cluster initiatives and expert lectures in order to face the challenge.
Careers360: How have fashion and design programmes evolved over last eight to ten years?
Col Subroto Biswas: Today, fashion and design programmes are taught via a lot of software based applications. Fashion forecast and market segmentation play a great role in this. Fashion communication has also witnessed progress in terms of students getting aware about different kinds of clients and fashion world in general.
Careers360: What are the emerging opportunities for freshers in this field?
Col Subroto Biswas: Creating own brands, building brand, independent entrepreneurship, e-retailing, developing environment friendly manufacturing, etc. are some of the new work areas for new entrants.
Careers360: What are the recent trends in terms of practical exposure, new fields, etc. in fashion education that you have observed in the past few years? How do you plan to integrate such evolving trends into your curriculum and pedagogy?
Col Subroto Biswas: E-commerce, application of IT in developing standard operating procedure and customised software, integration of cluster intervention, ERP, total quality management, lean manufacturing, just in time concept, etc. are some of the latest trends by which our teachers provide practical exposure to the students. All of these topics have been included in the curriculum and are being practiced rigorously.
Careers360: Please share data of placement trend at NIFT Kolkata.
Col Subroto Biswas: You can check below major highlights of placements at NIFT Kolkata below-
Number of participating companies
Number of participating students
Number of first time recruiters
Number of offers
Companies making highest offer
Greenply, Reliance Brands
Top recruiting companies
Greenply, Reliance Brands, Anamika Khanna, Biswa Bangla, etc.
Careers360: How do you prepare your students for the placement process? What are the key areas where you guide them for interviews? Do you offer any specific preparatory module to your students prior to the placement?
Col Subroto Biswas: The students are exposed to the industrial atmosphere round the year through several programmes. They are also familiarised with the industrial aspects through expert lectures given by alumni and industry specialists.
Moreover, NIFT imparts them special training for this purpose too.
Careers360: How important are internships for fashion students?
Col Subroto Biswas: Internships are extremely important for students to get in touch with the relevant and updated information prevailing in the industry, and to acquire hands on experience.
Careers360: Do you facilitate alumni interaction with students of the current batch? Do they contribute in terms of placement or curriculum update?
Col Subroto Biswas: Alumni interaction with students of the current batch takes place quite often for providing a glimpse of industrial exposure. Our former students do contribute to curriculum development by offering their valuable insights. They also help in placement of the current batch of students.
Careers360: What is your message for fashion aspirants?
Col Subroto Biswas: Fashion aspirants should have a very strong zeal for sustaining to the odds that they are going to face in initial years of their professional career. They should always pick up valuable inputs from their surroundings in order to nurture their creativity.
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