Interview with Mr Rajeev Lakhara

Mr Rajeev Lakhara
Mr Rajeev Lakhara
Managing Director
Footwear Design & Development Institute - Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt of India.
Footwear Design & Development Institute  - Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt of India.

Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), is a society registered under the Societies Act, 1860, sponsored and set up by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India with an objective to train and develop professional manpower for the industry. Rated among top fashion and retail institutions in the world, it is recognized as a centre of excellence conducting wide range of long and short term programmes in Retail Management, Fashion, Footwear Design, Technology, Management, Fashion Merchandising, Marketing, Creative Designing & CAD/CAM, Leather Goods & Accessories Design etc. It is first institute in the world to get prestigious ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification. FDDI has a distinct presence not only in higher education but also offers Industrial Consultancy, Training for industry personnel and conducting Research and Development. Mr Rajeev Lakhara, Managing Director, FDDI, is an Indian Revenue Service cadre officer of 1992 batch. He has completed BE (Civil Engineering) from Regional Engineering College, Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir). His distinguished career spans over 15 successful years that includes responsibilities as the Joint Commissioner/Joint Director (Investigation), Income Tax Department prior to joining FDDI. His customer centric focus and leadership has helped drive the rapid and overall growth of this two-decade old institute, including setting up of its International Testing Center (ITC) having full-fledged Chemical and Physical testing facilities. ITC serves not only footwear & leather industry but also automotive, plastic, glass & textile industries in testing various substances, components and goods. He has grand visions about turning FDDI as a truly world class organization in terms of enhancing its technical capability and establishing modern facilities, while helping micro-entrepreneurs and artisans to benefit from emerging opportunities. Mr Rajeev Lakhara explains to Face2Face team the role of FDDI and the yeoman services it offers.

How does FDDI justify its role as a leading educational institution in the field of leather, fashion and retail sectors?

Footwear Design & Development Institute popularly known as ‘FDDI’ is rated among the premier fashion institutions in the world. It is widely recognized as a centre of excellence. The institute conducts job oriented professional programmes through:

Centre for Retail Management (CRM) Centre for Footwear Design & Technology (CFDT) Centre for Leather Goods & Accessories Design (CLGAD)

FDDI has sprawling modern structure with excellent facilities, highly qualified and trained staff, visiting faculty including top professionals from industry and every other resource required for making the institute number one in the world. FDDI also provides its students and faculty with Wi-Fi Internet connectivity. The entire campus is wireless and offering all-round Wi-Fi Internet access to students and faculty.

The institute's rigorous training programmes are focused on creativity, innovation, leadership, teamwork and the global business climate is reflected in its record of 100 percent placement for all its graduates. FDDI has always enjoyed special preference from Indian as well as foreign employers on account of its excellent performance sustained over a long period of time and its strong brand image.

FDDI alumni include VP’s and CEO’s of some of the renowned companies. FDDI students have been able to get global placement in countries like USA, UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Egypt, China, Singapore, UK, Middle East, Sri Lanka, Kenya etc.

What is the potential today for the leather fashion design, technology and management sectors in India?

Time has experienced innumerable changes in the economic landscape of the country. From protection, India has gradually moved towards open markets. It aims to become a vibrant global economic factor.

The post liberalization era has opened up a plethora of opportunities for the Indian leather industry. With global players looking for new sourcing options (in addition to China), India stands to gain a bigger share of the global market. Leading brands from the US and Europe are planning to source leather and leather products from India.

Prospects for fashion design are pretty good, thanks to the huge and still growing demand for 'designer wear' and the equally large volume of exports.

However as compared to the UK , which boasts of over 150,000 designers or China and Taiwan, which have a population of over 1lakh designers each, India has only around 1,500 – 2000 skilled designers.

There are only a dozen-odd institutes that produce over 500 designers per annum, whereas the annual demand is for 8,000-10,000 designers. This calls for adopting a multi-tiered approach right from the school to professional level to bridge this gap.

Now the fashion industry has become so specialized that it encompasses a vast field of studies in design, concept management, design production management, quality control, planning, fashion accessory design, fashion merchandising, marketing and so on.

Published on: 30/07/2007

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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