37 aspiring fashion designers from across India train in Srinagar

Representational Image
Representational Image File/ GK

Srinagar, Oct 15: The famed Kashmiri handicrafts are set to get further diversified with 37 aspiring fashion designers from NIFT Delhi getting training in Srinagar. The training is being offered to the NIFT Delhi students presently camping in Kashmir.

The four-day visit of NIFT Delhi students to Kashmir aims at rejuvenating handicrafts by adding value to the handicraft products for better merchandise and packaging while using modern professional techniques.

The value-addition to a range of handicrafts forms an important component of the skill training to the visiting students.

The visit of these aspiring fashion designers is being coordinated by NIFT Srinagar. Around 37 students of the final year of the Knitwear Department of NIFT Delhi who are on their four-day visit to Kashmir are planning to diversify the Kashmir craft through various designs.

“NIFT is associated with lots of crafts and we try and sansitise the students to work on the design of the products of different crafts," said Dr Upinder Kaur, a faculty member of NIFT Delhi who is stationed in Srinagar with the students. “In their 4th and 5th semesters, the students from all courses of all the NIFT campuses go to different craft clusters and try to study the craft, document it, and do the research on it," she said.

As part of the research, the students have already interacted with Kashmiri artisans during COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.

“The students could not come to Kashmir but managed to interact with the artisans online to discuss different design techniques of the craft," she said.

During the current visit, the students are in the stage of discussing the manufacturing of the different products of Kashmiri crafts, its mass production, and other aspects to contemporise it for better marketing.

The students are working on designing different products of Kashmiri craft which include Kashmiri embroidery, papier-mâché, and Jalak Dozi embroidery.

“The students have the designs of certain products with them. Now they will discuss the product development with Kashmiri artisans,” Kaur said.

She said that the students are working on some new products and want to diversify the product without losing the essence of the craft.

"We try to contemporise the product but the craft will be the same. If the same product goes on the market it can be beneficial for artisans," she said.

Dr Upinder Kaur said the students have done the market study and trend study based on which they are planning to introduce new designs for the products.

The NIFT Delhi has collaborated with NIFT Srinagar for the student tour to Kashmir and meeting with the artisans.

“NIFT Srinagar helped us get introduced to artisans, and discuss designs and product development. They are coordinating it as part of their collaboration with NIFT Delhi," she said.

The students also visited the School of Design at Craft Museum wherein they interacted with the staff and the master designers to get the know-how about the craft and the design techniques. The students were accompanied by a faculty member of NIFT Srinagar, Yasir Mir.

Under the project, the students are trying to design different products by giving a flip to the craft.

"We have been given the assignment to develop a game by using papier-mâché craft. Other students are working on using new designs of embroidery,” Sejal, a final year student of NIFT Delhi told Greater Kashmir.

"Our interaction with the artisans will help us execute the design of the project and whether mass production is possible or not. We have to integrate the craft while developing the product," she said.

Vikash, another final-year student from the Knitwear Department of NIFT, Delhi said that they had deeply studied the Kashmir craft and wanted to do exploration of the design of the craft.

“We are trying to contemporise the craft by using new designs. Tilla work embroidery is mostly used by females but we are trying to make it unisex by introducing new designs which could be used on jackets and blazers," he said.

During their visit, the students interacted with the Director of NIFT Srinagar, Dr Javid Ahmad Wani who coordinated their meeting with the artisans at NIFT Srinagar campus to hold a threadbare discussion about the development of new products by integrating Kashmiri craft.

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