Two leading Italy-based fashion, art and design institutes are here to help give Indian fashion a competitive edge and in turn gain knowledge about the use of heritage textiles.
Two representatives of the Milan-based Domus Academy and Nuova Academia di belle Arti (NABA), were in the country to brief students about design, art and fashion study programmes in Italy and know the current trends in Indian fashion.
Both are part of the Milano Accademie, a network of the top art and fashion schools in Milan. The institutes have tied up with the Pearl Academy of Fashion in the capital for exchange programmes and advance study modules for Indian students in Italy and foreign students in India.
"It is vital to realise that design needs management to grow as a business...it is necessary to teach students how they should be able to market and manage their designs," design expert Alberto Bonisoli, dean of the Domus Academy, a premier post-graduate design school, told IANS here.
Nicoletta Morozzi, director of NABA, a private design school in Milan, said: "India is strong in hand skills and old textile techniques which others can explore...it has long and powerful traditions in textiles, colour and forms that have been recognised the world over. Taking inspiration from these, fresh designs are being created to complement new areas."
Working together as a "community with Indian students and exchanging on understanding of culture can add new dimension to designs- both here and in Europe," she said.
"For students from India we have courses that suit their curriculum as well as summer courses at NABA," the NABA director said.
Bonisoli said exchanges with countries like India was possible now, unlike in the 1980s when the fashion as an industry was rather insulated and not open to global influences. But globalisation has helped the fashion industry in the developing world assimilate and open its door to international trade.
"Multicultural sensibilities are being accepted as mainstream fashion staple internationally. It is not caught up in tradition, but rooted in tradition. The Indian fashion scene is a reflection of deep cultural influences, the consumer shift in the new economic scenario and changing social perceptions. I personally feel the world is taking inspiration from India," Bonisoli said.
Indian designers are making a mark on the global stage, he said.
"(Indian) designer Ashish Gupta has entrenched well in the UK market. And Manish Arora is a favourite of all fashion people across the European continent. Rajesh Pratap Singh presents finer sensibilities, acknowledged across Europe. The Gulf market has been much more open in accepting of Indian sensibilities," he said.
Bonisoli's institute would provide Indian students a glimpse into the rich design history of Italy and easy access to industry.
"We get a lot of projects from the industry. They come to us for fresh ideas and approaches and seek new talent. We also benefit as companies provide us with issues, problems and questions and also interchange of ideas," he said.
The Indian market for women's wear has a huge potential for growth but is promoted as "Indo-western wear", according to him.
Good design does relate to different cultures globally and reaches out to people all over the world with similar understanding, Morozzi said.
"Across the globe, the challenge these days is to produce innovative products quickly. The amalgamation of multiple technologies and the emergence of design as a competitive advantage will dictate a new approach which will carve the future in the field of design," she said.
It is no longer about looking good or dressing well alone, she observed.
"Design has evolved from being just a logo to being a whole process which creates a sustainable ecosystem for a brand. More importantly, design has become consumer centric," she said.