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Interview with Dr. Vijaya Kumar

Industry Speak
Dr. Vijaya Kumar
Dr. Vijaya Kumar
Director
Vogue Institute of Art and Design
Vogue Institute of Art and Design

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

Our students are prepared in a way that meets the industry’s demands. We have designed the courses, and programmes in consultation with industry experts from fashion, interior, manufacturing and retail segments. The campus is located in Apparel Park, which is a star project of Karnataka Government, presently housing more than 70 mega industries from apparel sector which encourages interface at all levels of designing to merchandising, interaction with industry professionals on a day-to-day basis and allows students to gain hands on knowledge. We regularly conduct workshops and talk-sessions with industry experts so that the students understand the ground reality about the industry, think out-of-the-box and make a mark in their careers.

How easy or difficult is to secure an admission? Any scholarships on offer?

While choosing a course, students need to consider many elements like the environment, location, transport links, accommodation, cost of living, options for financing studies through institutional scholarships and more. It’s not really tough to secure admission but yes there is no shortcut to success. So you will have to work hard even for the online entrance. To make the whole process easier, our admissions team shares their advice on how to make college application processes as painless as possible. Given the amount of time each application can take up, it’s important to think carefully about where you really want to apply. Yes, we do offer various scholarships so that the right students get an opportunity for higher studies. The economically weaker section students are also given importance and special provisions are made to accommodate their financial crisis in the form of giving away special discount on fees or scholarships.

What percentages of your students are absorbed in the textile industry of India?

75 per cent of our fashion students are absorbed in the apparel industry. We aim to achieve 100 per cent placements in the upcoming academic year.

How well equipped is the institute in conducting R&D projects?

Vogue Institute of Art and Design has allocated nearly 30 per cent of its space to conduct R&D projects. The institute has experienced human resources to conduct R&D projects in India and abroad.

Who are the major collaborators among brands and foreign universities? Do they collaborate with you on research topics?

Vogue Institute of Art and Design has collaborated with four foreign universities- University of Sunderland, UK; Accademia Costume and Moda, Italy; DeMontfort University, UK; and Accademia Del Lusso, Italy. Through the collaborations, students at Vogue gain progression opportunities to pursue undergraduate and master degree programmes, summer courses, joint student projects, workshops, exchange programmes amongst others. Vogue Institute of Art and Design is also exploring collaboration with AIC-NIFT TEA Incubation Centre for Textiles and Apparels.

What are the significant textile projects you are currently working on?

With an aim to direct the bright minds of today to think about sustainable practices for a better future, Vogue Institute of Art and Design initiated a circular fashion economy project in association with Shahi Export Pvt Ltd. The students are undertaking up-cycling projects from apparel waste that was collected from Shahi Exports.

Students created artistic mirror frames, lampshades with jute rope, weaved lampshades, artsy storage boxes, appealing pillow covers, wall hangings and plan to create more.

According to you, what are the things plaguing the textile industry at present?

We are in the era of fast fashion where fashion trends change once a week, ie 52 cycles a year. Since the life of fabric is only for 1 week, apparel waste has increased exponentially. While a few brands work towards changing the face of the same apparel as per the fashion trends, many fashion labels change their collection as per the trend to ensure market visibility. The wastage level is 4-5 per cent for classic wear as the collection requires minor changes. However in case of fashion wear – about 25 per cent of fabric goes as waste.

What steps should governments and countries take to reduce textile related wastages?

  • Governments can undertake programmes that promote reduction and recycling of waste from the grass root level. Education and awareness should start from schools and colleges as one can’t control manufacturers and marketers. Students in school can be taught about fashion, ways to reduce consumption, transform the product and avoid discarding the product. This way, the garment consumption levels can be controlled
  • Support can be provided to develop second hand retail stores, lending stores, rent based apparel products as their business models help reduce apparel waste. They are going to thrive in a big way in India as it’s already getting popular in parts of the country
  • In India, cotton based apparels are still a priority. However, in other countries, people prefer comfort due to which polyester, nylon based products are more popular. If we adopt this module, we will not run short of cotton and can synthesise more bio-degradable apparels, therefore reducing the shelf life from 6 years to 3 years for fashion wear products.
  • It would be ideal to initiate a parallel marketing system for used manufactured garments, recycling and up cycling of garments. Circular fashion projects have already been initiated in 10 countries across the globe, and the Indian government has also adopted this now.

What needs to be done in terms of driving sustainability?

There is a need to create awareness from the grass root levels in schools about sustainability and the impact on earth and the environment. Children always like to equip themselves with the practices undertaken and the right values. Circular fashion needs to be a part of the school curriculum for students in 5th grade preferably. This will ensure the young minds are shaped to be responsible future leaders in the industry.

What are your future goals? Any major announcements in pipeline?

Vogue Institute of Art & Design aims to expand its array of courses offered to students in the coming years in the realm of design education, which includes architecture design. (PC)

Published on: 13/06/2020

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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