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Fashion: NIFT Mumbai students take the Maharashtra route

Students of NIFT Mumbai work with artisans and artists from the state

When one thinks of fashion, it is still not unusual to immediately think of its capitals located in European cities like Paris and Milan that rule trends. Fashion students thus tend to look westward for inspiration and learning.

The students of Bachelor in Design from the department of Fashion and Knitwear at NIFT, Kharghar, however, picked up some craft and knowledge closer home. As a part of their course they worked on the local traditions of art and artisan work, the focus being the revival of Maharashtra weaves and art. The students also interacted with artisans over this period to learn and observe skills and techniques. The apparels they have designed as an outcome of the project will be on display at NCPA later this month.

A student wearing an ensemble with Warli inspired motif
A student wearing an ensemble with Warli inspired motif

Shubhangi, who has worked with Warli painters for her project, says that it opened up a new world for her. “As my project was with Warli painters, I had to travel to Jawhar, a region in Thane district. I learnt details of the form and with their help I put together my collection.” She says that each student had one tradition to work on, like wooden toys from Sawantwadi, copperware from Dhule, Banjara Arts from Nanded, Dhurri craftsmanship from Latur and pottery from Yavatmal and Bhadrawati. Nilima Singh, director of NIFT, says that the idea is to integrate the crafts sector of the country with mainstream fashion industry. “The intention is to involve NIFT’s professional capabilities in the areas of design, technology, marketing and management along with external expertise and synergise all developmental activities by various government and non-government agencies,” she explains.

Bags made with the craft and  material of Kolhapuri Chappal
Bags made with the craft and material of Kolhapuri Chappal

As an initiative towards this end, the students have to visit various clusters in Maharashtra. “Once, these fabrics and styles were the hallmark of Maharashtrian luxury and class which over the years have been overshadowed by the western influence, she says.

She added that NIFT Mumbai along with the government of Maharashtra has also taken up the responsibility to offer larger platforms and more market opportunities for crafts like Kolhapuri chappals, musical instruments of Miraj, Banjara embroidery and Himroo shawls and the student’s project’s are an extension of the initiative.

On MAY 28, 7.30 pm
At NCPA, Nariman Point
Call 66223737

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