Design diplomas: Fashion, Textiles, Viscom!
Merril Diniz, 28 Aug 2013
Design event at Institute of Apparel Management, Gurgaon

Textile & Fashion design Diploma

of the oldest design courses in India, these are well-established fields that have a great demand in the market. Fashion focuses on designing apparel - everything from denim, children’s clothes, and wedding attire to menswear. On the other hand textiles focus on designing the materials used to create apparel, home furnishings and other products. Hence, fabric is the raw material.

Design schools like JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Institute of Apparel Management (IAM) and Pearl Academy, offer three to four-year courses that train one in the fundamentals, skills and techniques of design.

While traditionally, fashion designers can seek employment in export houses, design houses, buying houses, retail stores and product companies, Sachin Khanna, Head of Product Design, Reebok feels that eCommerce is an upcoming avenue, as more and more online shopping portals (like Inkfruit and Zovi) have in-house teams designing products being marketed on the websites.

Another reason for an optimistic forecast in the recruitment of fashion and textile designers is the opening of the market to single brand retail companies in India. “They need to offer designs relevant to the Indian market and hence will need local designers,” says Sachin.

According to IAM, their students have either interned with or have been absorbed by companies like Orient Craft, Brandix, DeepikaGovind, Poddar Exports, Good Earth, Westside, Aligato, Marks &Spencers, Levis, Hasejaa Group, Aman Atlantic, Pee Emporo Exports, Ebony Retail and Benetton India. “Students mostly join as entry level managerial cadre in design & development, merchandising, buying, production and product development,” shares Dr Darlie Koshy, Director IAM and former director of National Institute of Design. Salaries range from between Rs. 20,000 to 35,000, and job profiles include designing, product development, sourcing and buying.


“Unlike other industries, in apparel/ retail, growth is quick based on efficient performance”

Dr Darlie Koshey
Director, Institute of Apparel Management (IAM)
Former Director, NID


A student at IAM designs a garment

Textile or fabric designers can work in export houses, buying houses, textile mills, fabric retailers, handloom cooperatives, with fashion designers, design studios and buying agencies.

Fashion designers also move fashion PR/writing and design research, another upcoming area. Many who head retail fashion brands feel that fashion designers have an edge in visual merchandising, which requires a good eye, creativity and aesthetic sense, and the profile includes looking at store layouts and dressing shop windows attractively.

To improve your prospects, Sachin who has hired from campuses such as Pearl and JD, feels that students besides having creativity and technical skills, must develop good communication and presentation skills, gain in depth knowledge and be initiative-driven. Those with an entrepreneurial streak can start their own ventures, too. However, it’s advisable to first gain experience under a good designer or company before flying solo.

“The interesting part is that unlike other industries, in retail/apparel, growth in career and positions are quite quick based on efficient performance,” Dr Koshey rounds up. Many reputed design institutes have positioned their courses as degrees. However, students must note that while many reputed and quality design institutes have positioned their courses as degrees, their courses are included under diplomas as there is no organisation that is designated to recognise or accredit design programmes in the country. The eligibility to pursue a postgraduate diploma at NID, Ahmedabad is 10 + 2 + 4-year diploma in design.^

Students at JD Institute of Fashion & Technology in sewing class

Visual communication diplomas

Many design schools offer a range of courses that use images, visuals and video as raw materials, to communicate ideas, advertise and promote products or services. An integrative programme, it helps the students tell a cohesive story through multiple tools.

A well-established course abroad, it is gaining prominence in India. Developing good conceptulisation and visualisation skills is a major focus here. NID offers five four-year diploma courses under the umbrella of Communication Design - Graphic Design, Animation Film Design, Film & Video Communication, Exhibition (Spatial) Design, thus enabling students to choose one medium, where they have substantive interest.

However, institutes such as Pearl Academy offer one programme, which covers all aspects. Raffles Millenium International offers two two-year diplomas in this area – Graphic design and Multi-media design. There are job opportunities galore; like Copal Mathur, an alumnus of Pearl Academy, one can work in the area of social communications for non-profits like WWF, or in a more commercial line such as advertising or design houses that work on a range of clients, products and projects.

Training institutes such as Arena Multimedia also offer short-term graphic design and multimedia, which give one basic exposure to this field.  These short-term programmes offer entry level jobs across the sectors, but longer duration courses are always preferable.

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