Ashley Winselman ’18 January 12th, 2017
To begin our day, we toured the Indian Art and Design Institute. This school is extremely new, with its first class of students graduating in 2019. They really emphasized using project-based learning. This entails providing the students with a topic, and having them learn about the topic through completing a project. This is different than the basic American curriculum, in which we learn about a topic and then do a project to expand our knowledge. The institute showcased various works of art created by students, and they seemed pleased to be there.
Next, we visited the Fashion Design Council of India. We saw several garments and home goods that are produced for Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, and we got to meet the employees who work with these items. Sunhil Sethi, president of FDCI, spoke with us and offered an abundance of knowledge. His main point and greatest piece of wisdom was to, “create excellence within yourself, and everything else will follow.” We also got to meet Rahul Mishra, whose design space we visited earlier on the trip. He was an amazing speaker and provided us with so much inspiration. My favorite part of our discussion was when our class asked where he finds inspiration. He explained that inspiration is like falling in love, and we can find inspiration anywhere if we are sensitive enough.
Lastly, we visited the National Institute of Fashion and Technology. Siddartha Upadhya provided a presentation titled “DPOL: Direct Pattern on Loom.” His presentation discussed sustainability and why it is so important. Upadhya explained a loom that produces clothing in an environmentally friendly manner. This loom uses yarn to create garments that are the exact size of what is necessary, thus greatly reducing waste. Furthermore, it saves hours, chemicals, energy, and 70-80% of water. To finish our day, we met with a speaker who worked for Apparel Online, who offered a refreshing global perspective.
When touring the Fashion Design Council of India, an employee told us that they do not understand why Americans purchase so many baubles, knobs, and monograms. We explained that we use so many baubles because they are used for Christmas tree ornaments, which we save or use to decorate multiple trees. Regarding knobs, we are quick to get rid of things and purchase new ones to redecorate our homes. This is different than what I have seen of Indian culture because they are more conscious and useful with their items. Similar to knobs, Americans use a large amount of monograms for decorative and aesthetic purposes. In contrast, Indians focus more on necessary items or pieces that represent cultural and spiritual significance.
We found this experience to be comical because it is true that we largely utilize these items. It made sense to us that someone of a different culture would be confused as to why we purchase such a large amount of these objects. If I were a part of the Indian culture, I would find these large purchases used for decorative reasons to be wasteful and frivolous. Although these items serve a purpose, such as Christmas trees representing our religion or monograms representing our family name, we do purchase them in excess. Thus, sustainability is important, and it is crucial to be mindful of the environment when making purchases.