After the launch of its first campus in New Delhi in 1993, the Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF) has grown in reputation as an institute that lives up to the needs of design, fashion, business and retail industry. Nineteen years and two other campuses, in Jaipur and Chennai, later, the institute has launched its Noida campus this year, its second in the national capital region (NCR). Rajiv Jayaram in an interview with Sharad Mehra , Chief Operating Officer, PAF says that market research, aptitude towards fashion and design studies among the youth of NCR, and the presence of apparel, brands, media and e-comerces businesses have combined to guide the institute to open its campus in Noida. Edited excerpts:
PAF is about to launch its second fashion design institute in Delhi NCR. What makes the area more attractive to you?
Our academic decisions are based on the market demand and the convenience and preference of our students. Noida has come up as a major destination within NCR. Our market research showed a high demand for a course like ours both from industry as well as students. There are companies engaged in the business of apparel, brands, communication and film-making, media, etc and have a large appetite for talent and, therefore, it was logical to set up a campus in Noida.
A recent survey conducted by Nielsen reveals there’s a rising demand for fashion and design studies, boosted by fashion consciousness among the Delhi NCR youth. While the survey showed a strong trend for fashion and design studies among youth in Noida, Greater Noida, and Ghaziabad, it also highlighted Noida as the preferred location for a new campus in the NCR with 29% respondents choosing it as the preferred location. Moreover, Noida was the clear preference in terms of accessibility due to less travel time and ready availability of public transport such as the metro line near the PAF Noida campus. All these factors made Noida as the obvious choice for the new campus.
Which kind of students do you plan to attract in Noida? And which courses you would say are the most exclusive and prestigious for the Noida campus?
PAF is an institute for the creatively inclined. Today students are looking at careers that are in synergy with aptitude and interest and they are no longer interested to follow the beaten track. They believe in new age careers and that is what PAF promises to offer them. In fact, as per our research, respondents in Noida and Greater Noida have a higher disposition for design courses.
PAF attracts students from all over India. This is also due to the fact that there are only a handful of good design schools in India. Besides the regular fashion design and communication design courses, PAF will offer for the first time a BA program in Interior Product Design” (IPD). This is one-of-a-kind course in NCR and promises to be a unique experience in IPD, which is a huge area of growth. Another unique product is the one-year PG diploma in E-commerce.
Can you elaborate about the state-of-the-art features of the Noida campus? What are the key industry interfaces and foreign varsity tie-ups the Noida academy will have?
PAF Noida will have a world class state-of-art campus with a focus on design and space to enable growth of ideas for the students. The interiors, open spaces and studios have been designed keeping in mind a very important fact that we are a fashion and design institute and, therefore, need a more creative space to let the spirit of design flow.
PAF is a member of Laureate International Universities (LIU) that gives us access to amongst the best institutions in the world. As member of LIU, our students have access to DOMUS and NABA in Milan, which are amongst the premier design schools of the world. In 2012 summer, nearly 100 students from PAF will be going to Milan for a special summer course designed for them. Last year, more than 100 design students from all over the world for came to exposure at Pearl. In e-commerce, we are tying with IEDE in Spain where our students will go for exposure and study of the European e-commerce market.
Your courses put a premium on e-commerce, brands, interior product design, jewellery and advertising. How do you see the effort to make rubric ‘fashion design’ as much diverse?
PAF is a design leader, so our premium is on design. What we try to do is inter-weave design into each segment of the market to produce market experts who have a strong sense of design and are equipped to work in any creative field. For example, a student who has done advertising with us can be more focused on producing ad copies and design for creative brands like big retail chains because his/her understanding of fashion goes hand-in-hand with their expertise in advertising.
Fashion design is actually far more diverse than what is commonly perceived. It includes apparel, bags, shoes, jewellery, home and interior, etc. However, the reality is that fashion and design is a very serious and huge industry in India. With International brands and retailers eyeing India, it represents one of the fastest growing industries with interesting mix of career opportunities.
Source: Economic Times