Universities have a long history of operating in environments that are unstable, disruptive and unpredictable. They’ve endured political upheavals, financial crises and disruptive trends such as digital transformation and globalisation. They’ve had to respond to demands for greater access, life-long learning and multiple competing demands from students, society, the state, industry and local communities. But the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and a more formidable challenge. By pushing universities to re-imagine new teaching and learning possibilities, the higher education sector has got universities to re-examine how they do research and pursue collaborations. It calls for the industry to re-examine how it works. Higher education must re-define the rigid bureaucracies that characterise the system.
The foundation of universities and college campuses where students study in close proximity to each other has been significantly impacted by the rapid spread of the COVID outbreak, creating uncertainty regarding higher education implications. Shifting to conducting classes, workshops, and seminars online, IIFT has had its fair share of ups and downs during the nationwide lockdown. The institution has faced a huge reduction in admission. “We conducted online career guidance programmes and started digital marketing activities to increase admissions. Not forgetting our current students, we have been conducting online internals, preparatory exams and presentations, ensuring proper attendance despite all odds”, says Dr H.R. Srinivasa, Principal, Indian Institute of Fashion Technology (IIFT).
Promoting Innovation and Creativity
One of the leading colleges in Design and Fashion, IIFT was founded in 2001 with almost 3000 student success in the garment industry and entrepreneurs. With seven branches in Karnataka, the institute is well connected with the industry, which has helped them provide regular exposures to fashion and lifestyle designers to their students. Creating a group of high calibre professionals in the areas of Fashion and Apparel Technology, Dr Srinvasa says, “We aim to facilitate cutting edge competitiveness and high premium branding to India’s Apparel in the global market”.
Going for a more practical approach, the students are encouraged and supported in selecting themes and design fashion garments for annual fashion shows and provided with an opportunity to create their own crafts for the university internship exam. “We also conduct brainstorming sessions and group discussions by selecting both general and technical topics and sponsor students for inter-college competitions”, adds Dr Srinivasa.
Taking students for regular industrial visits and market surveys, IIFT conducts ‘Fashonite’ every year to give an opportunity to them to showcase their innovative designs where an external panel of judges awards the best designers. Growing with the college, the students have achieved eight ranks in Bangalore University and Karnataka State Akkahamadevi Women’s University during the last five years. Collaborating with renowned industries such as Arvind, Shahi, Gokaldas for Mutual Industry-Academic Development and Promotional Activities, IIFT conducts Career Guidance Programs both by Internal Faculties and Industry Experts to give their students a better insight to what to look out for and counsel them to choose a suitable career.
Securing 80% placements in 2019-20, the students of IIFT have got jobs in well-known companies like Tailorman, Reliance Trends, Shoppers Stop, Tommy Hilfiger, Finesse, Arvind Lifestyle, Chola Design House, Collage Shop India, Angadi Galleria, So Designs, Pn Rao, Lemax Jeans, Gokaldas Intimate Wear, Fewdot Creative Solutions, Shraddha Design House, Bysachima Design House, and Quadline Clothing Co.
Adding new courses like Fashion Communication, Journalism, Styling and Photography, IIFT has plans to conduct crash courses on Fashion Styling, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Illustration, Fabric Studies, Apparel Production, and Fashion Forecasting. “We are also organising more industry visits to improving and exploring placement opportunities. We are also in talks of developing our virtual library and expand their skill development program across selected rural sectors in Karnataka, to make a mark in the Academia and Industry of Fashion”, concludes Dr Srinivasa.
About Dr H. R. Srinivasa Prakash
Dr Srinivasa is a highly accomplished professional with over three decades of rich experience in spearheading Academic, Administrative and Industrial assignments, business operations with a key focus on top-line profitability and optimal utilisation of resources. With 15 years of teaching experience, he is a keen planner, strategist & implementer with demonstrated abilities in setting up and ensuring the smooth functioning of overall operations and enhancing operational efficiency with excellent Management skills and Inter-Personal relations.