Hoorain Jeelani, a 5th semester student at National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Srinagar is hopeful of setting up her own clothing brand in the next few years.
“I want to open my own brand and design the clothes for my own people as they lack its knowledge,” Hoorain told Indiatimes.
In Kashmir, choosing a career that many say is ‘unexceptional’ by women is seen as stereotypical but these women are breaking the taboos and coming out to choose what they love most.
The most important part is being played by their institution which is giving them the wings to fly in the sky.
“When a fashion institute has come to Kashmir and is giving a chance to explore a new field especially to Kashmiri women, it is seen as immodest. But I believe that this field should be taken positively instead of having any negative vibes about it,” she said.
Hoorain, a student of Fashion Designing said that it has been tough for her to choose this career.
“First, it was hard to motivate my parents to opt for this course and in fact my sister gave me the money to get the admission form of this institute,” she said adding, “Now they have understood that this fashion designing is not only about the glamour world.”
‘Tough to motivate parents’
She said that it is very hard to make the people understand about fashion in Kashmir. “Many would tell me that after completing my studies, I would have to open the boutique,” she laughed.
“In case, I opened a boutique but I can proudly say that I am a fashion designing graduate and professional too,” she said.
Hoorain has opened her Instagram page with the name- ‘Hoorain Jeelani’ where she posts her own designed clothes.
Faryal Mushtaq, another student of fashion designing said that she has been interested in painting and designing since childhood.
“That’s what brought me to this institute. This is the best institute which is nourishing our talent and making a space for us in the market,” she said.
“If this institute would have not been here, we would have to go to Delhi or some other place to study fashion,” she added.
Bulbul Anand, a final semester student wishes to see herself like Bollywood fashion designer Manish Malhotra.
“If life gives a chance, who wouldn’t love to design the clothes for the film stars,” she said.
“But I want to move out and explore pattern making,” she added.
Muskaan Riaz, who graduated recently from the institute said that fashion designing has been seen in a bad light in Kashmir.
“There is a stigma that fashion is all about glamour and photo shoots like film stars do. But there is nothing such. It is about promoting Kashmiri craft and creating employment. This is all about sustainable and ethical fashion,” she said.
About the NIFT
Set up in 1986, NIFT is the pioneering institute of fashion education in the country and has been in the vanguard of providing professional human resources to the textile and apparel industry.
It was made a statutory institute in 2006 by an Act of the Indian Parliament with the President of India as ‘Visitor’ and has full-fledged campuses all across the country.
Over the years NIFT has also been working as a knowledge service provider to the Union and state governments in the area of design development and positioning of handlooms and handicrafts.
The Srinagar wing of NIFT was started back in 2013 and courses began from 2016. Currently, they are offering courses like Fashion Design and Fashion Communication. From this year, they have also started two more courses- Accessory Design and Master’s in Fashion Management.
The Srinagar institute deals with the fabrics exploration, textile making, design, clothing and accessory design.
There are a total of 237 students enrolled in the institute out of which 15 are locals.
NIFT Srinagar’s achievements
This year the students designed the clothes for the priests of Amarnath Yatra, capacity building workshop with 40 women artisans of J&K and Ladakh, packing for the handicraft department Kashmir, research and documentation for filing of GI tag for seven crafts of Kashmir and design development workshop with 30 women artisans of district Budgam.
Non-local students impressed
Sri Nidhi, a fashion designing student from Andhra Pradesh who is studying at the institute said that she got to see the craft of Kashmir.
“Studying this subject in a Srinagar institute has put me in touch with the local handicraft. I came across the local clothing tradition and more importantly I got a chance to design it,” said Sri Nidhi, who runs an Instagram page with the name ‘Kalamkari’ showcasing the clothing designs of her own place.
Rhea Gaitonde, a student of Fashion Management who belongs to Pune said, “We got to work with the local Kashmiri students and learnt a lot about Kashmiri handcrafts. The local artisans here are very talented.”
Bright future ahead of the new designers
Javid Ahmad Wani, Director NIFT Srinagar said that the institute brings entirely different value to the career prospects of the youth of J&K.
“It is time for the students and their parents to move beyond conventional fields. With courses in fashion, design, technology and management, NIFT is an ideal choice for those who want to join the ever-growing textiles industry,” he said.
“We update our curriculum regularly to keep pace with the demands and changes of the industry. We teach our students to take on real life problems. This is why NIFTians are most sought after by the industry,” he added.
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