India™s Top 20 fashion design institutes

EducationWorld May 14 | Education World

Textile and fashion schools which offer the prospect of India reclaiming its international market share through design ingenuity, have assumed critical importance
ONCE UPON A TIME india™s silks and textiles were among the world™s most valued merchandise, and prompted intrepid explorers such as Marco Polo (1254-1324) among others to brave grave dangers to open up trade routes to India. But with the onset of the industrial revolution in the 19th century when European nations began mass production of textiles and garments, India™s famous labour ” rather than machines ” driven textiles industry suffered continuous decline.
Of late, neighbouring China, Pakistan and Bangladesh ” where garments and apparel manufacturing industries are permitted to enjoy economies of scale (in India these industries are reserved for small scale enterprises) ” are besting India in international markets. Against this backdrop, textile and fashion schools which offer the prospect of India reclaiming its international market share through design ingenuity, have assumed critical importance.
For the second year in a row, the government-promoted National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Delhi (estb.1986) ” the country™s first higher ed institution to offer professional degree programmes in fashion design ” has been top-ranked by a respondents sample comprising 318 fashion industry professionals, 148 faculty and 123 students. Promoted by the Union ministry of textiles in technical collaboration with the New York-based Fashion Institute of Technology, NIFT-Delhi was awarded university status through the NIFT Act, 2006, empowering it to confer undergraduate and postgrad degrees in textiles, jewellery and apparel design. NIFT-D is also top-ranked on all four parameters of excellence ” competence of faculty, infrastructure, pedagogic systems and processes, and placements.
However while NIFT-Delhi has retained its numero uno position and NIFT, Kolkata has moved up to #7 (#8 in 2013) in the EducationWorld India Top 20 Fashion Design Institutes Rankings 2014, many of its affiliates ” there are 15 NIFT campuses countrywide with an aggregate enrolment of 7,000 students ” have failed to hold on to their earlier high ranking. NIFT, Mumbai has slipped from its #2 position in 2013 to #3 this year; NIFT, Bangalore has been demoted to #4 (#3 in 2013); NIFT, Gandhinagar has been pushed down to #9 (4); NIFT, Hyderabad to #10 (5); and NIFT, Chennai to #16 (7).
The displacement of NIFT-D affiliates is the consequence of the rise of several private sector fashion design institutes which are challenging NIFT™s domination. The rising star is Pearl Academy, Delhi, whose ranking has dramatically risen from #6 in 2013 to #2 this year. Promoted in 1993, Pearl Academy claims it is the first fashion academy in India to be conferred ISO 9001:2008 certification and offers over 30 undergraduate, postgraduate and professional programmes to 1,000 students. The academy™s three other campuses in Jaipur, Noida and Chennai are also ranked among the Top 20. Recently, another Pearl campus was inaugurated in Mumbai.
œIn all surveys of India™s premier fashion design institutes of the past decade, we have been ranked #2 or #3. We are glad that in this year™s EducationWorld survey we have been awarded #2 position which is our correct rank. We have a nearly 100 percent placement record, and our alumni are employed in leading national and international design houses, retail establishments and fashion conglomerates such as Gap International, Marks and Spencer, and Levi Strauss among others, says Sharad Mehra, the Delhi-based CEO of Pearl Academy, who adds that the institute has collaborations with 30 international institutes including the London College of Fashion and Nottingham Trent University, UK among others.
Likewise, another private institution which has stormed into the Top 5 league table is Raffles Design International, Mumbai (RDI-M). Previously ranked #11, RDI-M was promoted in 2004 by the Singapore-based Raffles Education Corporation which operates 31 colleges with an aggregate enrolment of 20,500 students in 29 cities across 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, RDI-M offers bachelor™s degree and advanced diploma programmes to 350 students instructed by 27 faculty (tuition fee: Rs.4.2 lakh per year).
œWe are delighted to have been ranked #5 in our tenth anniversary year. It™s the accomplishments of our faculty and students which have raised RDI-M in the public esteem. In Mumbai, as in all our centres, Raffles™ focus is on applied learning, creation of stimulating environments to prompt creative thinking, to enable our students to develop broad-based knowledge of design disciplines. Moreover, Raffles™ extensive industry partnerships and internships fully prepare students for the workplace, says Allan See, director of Raffles Design International, Mumbai.
Other institutions which have moved up or broken into the Top 10 league table this year are the Bangalore-based Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, ranked #6 (up from #9 in 2013) and the Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune, ranked #8 (#13).
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