Fashion is associated with trendy clothes, bedazzling jewellery, pretty models, glittering ramp shows and glamour. In India, the fashion industry has grown manifold and is one of the biggest growth sectors. However, there is a huge gap between the demand and supply of designers, and this is where fashion schools like Pearl Academy of Fashion come into the picture. The institute has its campuses in Delhi, Jaipur and Chennai. The Chennai institute, located in the upmarket Nungambakkam, was set up in July 2006 and has since churned out many talented and creative professionals.
The institute offers design and fashion business-oriented programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Some of the courses at the undergraduate level are fashion design, fashion business management and communication design. Pearl also offers two-year postgraduate diplomas in fashion design, fashion retail and fashion merchandising. The undergraduate and post graduate diploma programmes are validated by Nottingham Tent University (NTU), UK, which is a renowned institution for fashion education. The design courses at Pearl aim to create a basic level of awareness on the couture aspect whereas the business programmes are meant to create a strong base in core commercial and technical concepts, principles and analytical skills that would be required by the industry. According to director S Ramalingam, fashion retail has a huge scope and market. “A lot of brands are coming in the market and there is an influx of international brands. This makes our fashion retail programme most sought-after,” says Ramalingam.
Admissions for the undergraduate programmes are based on general proficiency test, a design aptitude test for students who opt for the design courses, a situation test, group discussion (for the business students) and a personal interview. The academy offers scholarships to meritorious students where 10 per cent of the tuition fee is waived.
The academy that comprises seminar rooms, WiFi-enabled computer labs and CAD cells, library-cum-resource centre, sewing labs, workshops, pattern making studios and a weaving laboratory is spread across three floors. The academy also offers hostel facilities for girls based on first-come-first basis.
Teaching and placement
Teaching at Pearl Academy is a blend of both industry and academics. The college has 15 regular faculty, most of whom are actively working. “We are a very student-centric institute in terms of placement and environment. Our USP is the close association with the industry. We have a strong faculty programme in place and all our professors will have to clear the postgraduate certificate in higher education to qualify as a lecturer at the academy. The whole idea is to give our students more exposure and real time projects. Over a period of time we introduce flexible learning so that students get the exposure through the industry sponsored projects for students,” adds Ramalingam.
So how different is Pearl from the NIFTs of the country? Ramalingam says, “We have real time projects with the industry and the outcome shows in the placement and student satisfaction. Around 90 per cent of the students get placed while doing the projects in the final year. We encourage entrepreneurship and hence around 30 per cent invariably choose to launch their own start-ups.”
Students need to go on internships and submit a dissertation too.
The Chennai campus has seen a rise in the enrollment numbers. “In the past few years there has been an increase in terms of enquiries and interest in creative courses. The market in and around Chennai, like Coimbatore and Bangalore is textile-based, so there is a growing awareness in people about such courses,” adds Ramalingam.
According to the students at Pearl, learning is conceptual and application-based. “In Pearl, what we are taught is actually what will sell in the market. Teaching is hands-on. From picking a theme to designing our own garments, the whole process is taught here. We visit stores and also do market surveys,” says Chahat Bansal, a fourth-year fashion design student.
Source: Express Buzz