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Interview with Sandra Sequeira

Industry Speak
Sandra Sequeira
Sandra Sequeira
Director
JD Institute of Fashion Technology
JD Institute of Fashion Technology

How equipped are your students to be a part of the fashion industry from the word go – bridging the gap between theoretical studies and practical demands of a job?

JD Institute has wide-ranging career prospects. The students have innumerable choices in front of them after the completion of their respective courses. With the powerful industry network that the institution has created over 30 years, we have a special placement cell devoted for training and counselling our students after the completion of their course and place them in reputed organisations. Our reputation of preparing ‘Industry ready’ professionals has been recognised by leading fashion retail and design brands, which has helped in establishing a healthy placement track record of over 99 per cent. 

In  2016, JD started a new initiative of an online platform called ‘Creative Careers’ completely dedicated for placements and career counselling for the students. It is a first of its kind in design and creative industry - an exclusive platform to connect designers and employers. 

The platform allows students to browse jobs, to be more aware about various brands and organisations. The campus interviews are held every year. Major companies, brands, and labels visit the campus and hire talented individuals frequently.

How does your institute compare to other fashion institutes? What’s unique about your teaching and curriculum?

JD Institute of Fashion Technology ever since its inception has always had a holistic approach towards design education. We have always tried to dignify the process of academics with the essence of integrity, imagination and innovation. We also encourage our students to follow the essence of different virtues, such as sustainability, and eco-friendly approach. We consider our students as a citizen of our world of imagination. And as a citizen, we try to sow the seed of a strong creative character and water it with integrity, and proudly watch the transformation of talent into stalwarts of art and design industry.

Our conscious approach has always been to make sure that students are edified with creative learning strategies through realistic research and co-curricular programmes to sharpen their abilities. The curriculum is structured in such a way that it helps students to acquire skills, hands on learning so that their transition from being a student till entering the industry becomes smooth. 

Our programmes are taught by top echelons of the industry, whose rich experience offers the perfect spark and guidance to young minds. Our programme is designed in a way that students are constantly given opportunities to consult with mentors and stalwarts from the fashion and design industry to understand and analyse the contemporary developments and business trends. At JD, each and every programme module is designed to challenge students and encourage them to tackle real-world issues. This is achieved through amazingly dedicated faculty and the state-of-the-art facility developed with a lot of intensive care. We offer a global curriculum that stays ahead of the curve and constantly innovates with our 360-degree approach. We equip students with an in-depth understanding of design, along with its multiple verticals, and practical approach. 

Our biggest strength and asset has been our alumni network. They come back to the campus to give advice for careers, have networking prospects with industry experts, and inspire existing students and graduates. We consider our alumni students as a valuable resource and involve them in various activities and future endeavours. 

Supporting and guiding the students doesn't stop just within the classrooms. We provide the graduating students with the right industry exposure and 99 per cent placement assistance.

Why JD? How do we bridge the gap between theoretical and practical classes?

JD Institute perpetually believes in students being able to get both theoretical and practical understanding of the curriculum. This enables them to be completely aware about their respective fields and achieve cutting edge knowledge. This is ensured by proffering the students with design seminars and talk sessions with stalwarts and mentors from the design domain who enrich them with industry knacks and mannerisms. From time to time the students are taken on various industrial visits to help put their theoretical knowledge into perspective and have a closer look of how they will have to work once they enter the industry as professionals. The institute organises workshops for the students to understand the trends prevalent in the industry. Apart from these sessions, the students are also sent to various fashion shows, design festivals, brand/showroom visits, etc to give them practical exposure. Apart from this, every year JD organises its ‘JD Annual Design Awards’ a platform for its students to showcase their creativity and talent in front of key industrial players. The award show presents the journey of the students in the culmination of a final collection/product which tests all that they have learnt during the tenure of their course. The journey from concept to creation tests the students’ ability to take forward their vision in a constructive and analytical manner with the help from their respective mentors. There is never a dull moment in JD! The students get to exhibit not just their academic strengths but also indulge in non-scholastic activities. They are given the platform of JD’s Got Talent to exhibit their extra-curricular talents. Our Global Connect is a stepping stone for students to learn and find inspiration internationally. To grant the students access to some of the best international tutors in the world, we are associated with the London College of Fashion. Our collaboration adds a global perspective to our young aspiring students. With the availing opportunities, our students have represented us in live industry projects such as Quescorp, Khadi Design Council, Bangalore Times Fashion Week, India Reach Fashion Week , IGF Colombo, Sri Lanka.

What percentages of your students are absorbed within the fashion industry and in which areas?

Around 85 per cent of our students have been placed in various renowned organisations and some have even blossomed into successful entrepreneurs with their own labels. Our students have set foot in multiple well celebrated brands such as Myntra, H&M, Studio Y, Marks and Spencers, Manoviraj Khosl, Marcel Robbez Masson, Fab India, Imara, Tesco, Nykaa Fashion, Forever 21, Tagos Design Innovations and many other at high profile positions.

What are the emerging fields in fashion technology?

Fashion Technology is a growing lucrative career. It is a field where you can hone your skills in apparel design and management. Today, we are nothing without technology and it is an enzyme to create a spark in every industry. Fashion Technology opens new gateways and emerging fields which are vital for the growth of the industry and are prospective and exciting vocational options. There are multiple roles that one can pursue as a career in the field of fashion and evolve as a successful professional.

To provide a preview, here are some of the emerging fields in fashion technology which are exciting career options that you might not have heard about: 
  • Garment Technologist: This career is oriented towards the opportunity to create and develop innovative garments by researching new fabric, cloth and fibre combinations.  
  • Fashion Illustrator: A Fashion Illustrator career will consist of collaborating with various designers to produce visionary sketches, and interpretations of fashion products and portray them through graphic design in-order to create images for advertising and promotional purposes.  
  • Fashion Trend Forecaster: The career is more likely to include research techniques to predict the trends for up-coming seasons. 
  • Fashion Curator: Regularly monitor fashion publications and designers to keep up with the changing trends and curate them. A fashion curator will also have to evaluate the potential success of a certain collection. They will also be required to share fashion insights and analysis with buyers to help them choose the appropriate inventory purchases.
  • Sustainability Compliance Officer: Sustainability is the future of every industry and the world of fashion has been amongst the first to give the thought of sustainability its due importance. As a sustainable compliance officer you will have to analyse and predict a company or institution's future outlook, present stability, and environmental and moral impact by upholding the essence of sustainability in fashion.

What are your goals for the next 5 years? Any major announcements in pipeline?

Our future endeavours involve the mission of making JD Institute a university an autonomous body by exploring the horizons of design as a career and implementing unique and lucrative vocational choices for the aspiring youth. In future, we will also welcome national and international bodies and institutes to be a part of this autonomous system. We would also like to ensure that design is affordable and easily achievable across the nation, even in two and three tier cities as well as globally. The aim is to provide design solutions and be able to educate the possible youth by refining their imagination, and giving them the power to create wonders. We would also like to be approachable to everyone who wishes to study design and transform India into a major design hub.
Published on: 17/06/2020

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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