Institute of Fashion Technology (IFT)-IPSA: Nurturing Future’s Global Fashion Designers

Ar. Achal Choudhary

There is an extraordinary story behind the inception of the Institute of Fashion Technology (IFT). It was established in 2002 to prepare creative, passionate, and energetic fashion professionals who would contribute to the fashion industry through unparalleled skills and leadership. The institute aims to provide an environment that nurtures students, inspiring them to give their best and make promising contributions to the local and global fashion industry.

Sharing more about IFT-IPS Academy(IPSA)’s holistic infrastructure, Ms Preity Sarva, the Principal, says that IPS Academy boasts advanced state-of-the-art infrastructure, including an industrial sewing machine lab, an advanced industrial sewing machine lab, a pattern lab, a textile lab, and a CAD lab equipped with advanced designing software, among others.

IFT-IPSA offers a wide range of courses catering to all segments of the fashion industry. These include B Design (Fashion Design), a four-year degree program affiliated with Raja Mansingh Tomar University, Gwalior; Post Graduate Diploma in Fashion Designing & Marketing, affiliated with Devi Ahilya University, Indore, the first State University of Madhya Pradesh accredited with an “A+” grade by NAAC; Certificate in Fashion Designing, an IPSA course; and Short-Term Courses such as Augmented Reality in the Fashion Industry, Fashion Styling and Advanced Pattern Making and Garment Construction. Additionally, IPS Academy provides Value Added Courses, including Clo-3D, Garment Production Process, Industrial Engineering, Quality Assurance in Garment Industry, Fabric Identification, Digital Accessory Designing, Draping Techniques, Basic Fashion Illustration, Digital Portfolio Designing, Textile Printing Techniques, Personal Fashion Styling & Photoshoot.

The extensive facilities and diverse range of educational programs at IFT-IPSA ensure that students receive a comprehensive and industry-relevant learning experience.

An enthusiastic academician and designer aiming to serve the fashion industry by imparting quality education to youth, Ms Preity has a total of 22 years of experience in the field. She is the Vice President, The Textile Association (India) MP- Unit. In Feb 2023 IFT conducted a fashion show in the World Textile Conference at Ahmedabad organized by the Textile Association (India) where her team won a reward of ₹51000/- from National President, TAI. She is also the Vice Chairman in Jan Shikshan Sansthan Indore. Students have excelled in Times Fashion weeks and many other fashion events under her mentorship.

In an exclusive interview with CIOLOOK INDIA, Ms Preity spoke about IFT and its various aspects. The highlights of the discussion are given herein.

Kindly tell our readers about your esteemed design school’s history, holistic infrastructure, and education facilities.

Under the visionary leadership of our beloved President, Ar Achal Choudhary, an esteemed alumnus of IIT Kharagpur (Hall of Fame: Nehru), IPS Academy has witnessed remarkable growth and development.

Ar Achal graduated with B.Arch. (Hons.) in 1973. With specialization in Architecture, he started his independent practice in 1974 by establishing ASK Consultant Pvt. Ltd in Indore. He laid the foundation of Indore Public School in 1987 and IPS Academy in 1994. He has been conferred with numerous State, National and International honorary posts and awards. Along with establishing MP’s first successful private institute, he has put his hands in the field of construction by laying a number of social projects, hospitals, hotels, industrial complex designing, colony planning projects, etc.

Ar Achal has played an important role as alumni of prestigious IIT Kharagpur by sponsoring various technical and cultural ventures organized by IIT Kharagpur like Khitij, SpringFest, etc, and has donated lakhs of funds in the activities under these projects and establishment of IIT Kharagpur Alumni Association at IPS Academy is in continuation of the same.

With a strong commitment to excellence, the Academy has become a prominent educational institution in the region. IPS Academy proudly encompasses 16 colleges, offering an extensive range of 76 courses, catering to the diverse interests and aspirations of over 10,000 students. Spanning across a sprawling 60 acres of lush green terrain, the Academy boasts of a truly magnificent and unparalleled infrastructure. Each institute within the Academy is housed in aesthetically designed buildings, showcasing a seamless blend of architectural brilliance and functionality. We take immense pride in our team of highly qualified, skilled, and experienced teachers who are dedicated to nurturing the talents and potential of our students.

IFT, a distinguished fashion institute, sets itself apart with its unique approach to education. Approved by the Government of Madhya Pradesh. It offers a personalized learning experience where dedicated mentors give students individual attention and guidance.

IFT follows the curriculum in an autonomous mode, meaning it gives additional skills to students apart from the prescribed curriculum. The students are given practical hands-on training. Thus this holistic developmental strategy transforms aspiring fashion enthusiasts into promising fashion professionals.

It provides students with many national and international opportunities for exposure, allowing them to showcase their talents on prestigious platforms. These opportunities include:

Eternity Fashion Show in the ‘World Textile Conference’: Organized by The Textile Association (India) in Ahmedabad, our students presented a captivating collection of 60 dresses on ten unique themes. Notably, these stunning creations were meticulously designed and skilfully stitched by the students themselves.

Vibes Fashion Show at the ‘National Conference on Textiles’: Hosted by The Textile Association (India) – MP Unit, this fashion show provided an excellent platform for our students to display their creativity and expertise in textiles.

Khadi Fashion Show in Khadi Bazaar: Organized by Khadi Gramodhyog, Ministry of MSME, Government of India, this fashion show highlighted the students’ ability to blend tradition and contemporary fashion, showcasing their remarkable skills in working with Khadi fabric.

Participation in the ‘Pantaloons Next Top Designer Contest’: Our students were mentored by Nikhil from the renowned fashion house of Shantanu & Nikhil. This invaluable experience enabled them to refine their design aesthetics and gain insights into the fashion industry.

Participation in the ‘World Skills Competition’: As part of this global skill Olympiad, organized across 85 countries at various levels ranging from district to international, our students demonstrated their exceptional abilities and competed on a global stage.

These are just a few examples of the extraordinary opportunities available to our students. At IFT, we are committed to providing them with diverse experiences, enabling them to flourish and excel in the competitive world of fashion.

At IFT, we go beyond offering placement opportunities to our students. We are committed to their holistic development, providing comprehensive support through Entrepreneurship Development programs, Management Development programs, and more. Additionally, internships are available to all students, ensuring practical exposure and industry experience. To ensure a well-rounded education, IFT has established collaborations with various stakeholders, including industries, relevant ministries, government departments, organizations, colleges, and associations. These partnerships enable us to provide our students with diverse resources, connections, and opportunities. We understand that each student has unique competencies and aspirations. That’s why at IFT, we go the extra mile to understand and nurture their talents, helping them stand out in the dynamic world of the fashion industry. With many career choices available in this field, we strive to support each student in achieving their full potential.

Tell us about the school’s mission, vision, and core values.

Mission:  Our mission is to create an ambience in which new ideas and creativity flourish with the backing of deep knowledge of fashion, textiles, history, and allied crafts using the latest teaching methodology & technology.

Vision: To be a leading global institute that engages in education and creates creative fashion leaders, designers, and textile innovators who generate new knowledge for society and the fashion industry.

Core values: IFT believes in 360° student development and not merely providing them with the degree and freeing them to fight for their establishment on their own! IFT values the upgradation of its faculty members and conducts FDPs for them.

What USPs make you stand out as a leading design school?

Our USPs:

  • Only NAAC-accredited fashion institute in central India.
  • Lush green eco-friendly 58-acre integrated campus.
  • Safe, homely and hygienic Hostel.
  • Placement, OJT and internship facility.
  • Highly hygienic mess facility with delicious and healthy food.
  • Huge Sports Ground with all the facilities.
  • Co-curricular activities.
  • Extra-curricular activities.
  • Strong PR with all related govt. stockholders.
  • Collaboration with Textile Association (India).
  • Connection with North India Section of Textile Institute, Manchester.
  • Entrepreneurship Development Programs.
  • Management Development Programs.
  • NSS.
  • NCC.
  • Wellness centre.
  • Radio IPSA.
  • Swimming pool.
  • Proceeding for international collaborations.

All this makes IFT, IPSA, a unique institute.

What were the initial challenges after venturing into the educational field, and what are the challenges now?

Initial challenges: Fashion education is a niche sector, and venturing into this distinct field, separate from the fields available at IPSA, such as engineering, management, commerce, pharmacy, science, law, mass communication, etc., required a bold step. Parents were often hesitant to send their children to fashion education. However, Ar. Achal Choudhary established IFT to overcome these challenges.

Challenges now: The global fashion industry is rapidly embracing technological advancements, and IFT is fully prepared to embrace Industry 5.0 with its well-equipped labs. However, the local fashion industry must also update itself to meet international standards and keep pace with these advancements.

Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how technology is transforming the educational sector and what advancements we can expect in the future.

The education sector continuously upgrades its teaching methodologies by putting the latest sewing machines, software, teaching and training equipment, tools, etc., to match the industry and teaching via the latest gadgets, computers, projectors, etc. The latest ERPs, CRMs, and MISs are also used to manage day-to-day work. It is essential to tune up with the industry demands and not use the traditional, outdated knowledge base to teach in today’s era.

Future advancements- The designers and brands must welcome the latest technologies to leap in designing, marketing, inventory management, retail, manufacturing, etc., as per the modern digitally adapted customers. The educational institutions must also walk side by side to match the fashion industry.

Future advancements are expected: Artificial intelligence, E-commerce, Augmented & Virtual reality, 3-D Printing, Online Vector editors, E-fit, customized MIS, Clo-3D, Social Media, Data Analytics, Novel Fabrics, Blockchain, etc. Adopting these technologies will enhance trends forecasting and supply chain management and result in gaining a competitive advantage.

What would be your advice to the aspirants willing to venture into the field of design schooling?

I want to offer some advice to students considering entering this unique field. It is crucial to thoroughly assess your genuine interest and passion before embarking on this journey. Once you have decided to pursue a career in fashion, it is important never to look back. Stay abreast of the latest technology and trends, continuously learn and grow, and refrain from copying designs. Moreover, be prepared to put in substantial hard work and adhere to strict deadlines. Seize opportunities that come your way and devote yourself to providing satisfactory service to your customers. Remember three key principles: original innovation, garment quality, and timely delivery. By embracing this approach, you can achieve remarkable success in the industry.

How do you envision scaling the school’s scope and offerings in the future?

IFT has recently upgraded its technology and is preparing to inaugurate Augmented Reality in the Fashion Industry Lab soon. This lab is expected to be the first in the country to offer state-of-the-art AR and VR facilities. Additionally, the lab will be equipped with Clo-3D software. IFT envisions a revolutionary impact on the retail and manufacturing industry in the country through this technological advancement. To fulfil this vision, IFT will soon commence training programs for 25 industry personnel in collaboration with NIMSME (National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).

IFT’s Hall of Fame:

  • A reward of ₹51,000/- was announced by the National President of The Textile Association (India) for the successful organization of the Eternity Fashion Show at the World Textile Conference in Ahmedabad.
  • Ms Kanupriya Soni, a B. Design (Fashion Design) student, won the ‘State Level Competition’ of the ‘World Skills Competition 2022’.
  • Seven students successfully cleared the ‘District Level Competition’ of the ‘World Skills Competition 2022’.
  • The National Level Garment Machinery Exhibition GARMEK-2022 and 2023 received appreciation from Hon. Mr Shankar Lalwani, MP, and Dr Ilayaraja T (IAS), Collector, Indore, for the theme pavilion, stall, and students’ work.
  • IFT students managed the ‘Indore Garment Fair-2022’, the largest garment fair in Central India, organized by the Indore Readymade Vastra Vyapari Sangh.