Antonio M. Grioli, the Dean of School of Fashion, Pearl Academy, speaks to G20 about his aspiration to create excellence in fashion education and produce the best.

 

What is fashion for you? 

Fashion is much more than mere aesthetics or visual appeal. To me, fashion represents human aspirations and self-expression. On a larger scale, it is a reflection of a society—it’s past and present and denotes what could be a possible future. It is a social phenomenon which comprises of: art, culture, prevalent trends and most important, a potent medium to break the existing stereotypes.

What is the vision behind Pearl Academy?

Pearl Academy is a platform that motivates and nourishes creative thinkers who have the potential to be future creative practitioners and changemakers. We are committed to excellence, innovation and development of society through self and shared efforts. The Academy has a rich legacy of imparting skill-based creative education in India.

Ever since its inception, Pearl Academy has expanded its boundaries all across India. With new campuses in Bengaluru, Kolkata and South Delhi, the Academy is opening up new opportunities for creative enthusiasts who want to turn their passion into a productive career.

How well is fashion education received in India?

Fashion has undergone a tremendous shift and transformation within India. This is in terms of perspective, approach, acceptance, innovation and creativity. With a talent pool of young entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, new age techies and designers, the country is attracting a lot of attention from the foreign countries. Today, India is considered one of the most important destinations for OEMs to harness the talent pool and offer new career opportunities.

With such an energetic youth-power, India will have a huge influence on the domestic and international fashion circuit in the coming years.

Tell us something about the course structure and how the Academy has made a mark in the fashion industry.

Education at Pearl Academy is a journey of self-discovery, identifying the skills and most importantly, being a lifelong learner. These goals are crafted in our course structure wherein we provide international exposure with live projects, industry mentorship and encourage practices that synchronise with latest tools, technology and industry trends.

We have also recently partnered with Coursera to give our students an access to more than 3,600 globally renowned online courses. In short, it’s a comprehensive exposure and an elevated learning experience for future fashion practitioners that is also an outcome based in terms of employability or entrepreneurship. Some of the leading names that recruit Pearl Academy fashion students are Ritu Kumar, Anju Modi, Anna Sui, Myntra, ITC, Aditya Birla, W and many more.

How have you conceived Indian fashion and inspiration from the Indian culture? What is your perspective about overall Indian fashion industry?

Over the years, India has become a focal point for the fashion industry, with people from all walks of life adopting fashion as part of their evolving lifestyles. The increasingly powerful manufacturing sector and young entrepreneurs making an impressive debut with startups, has further provided a boost to the growing fashion industry.

With the world focus on sustainability, India has already carved a niche for itself in the sphere of zero waste. It can augment this concept further with newer and innovative creative practices in this sphere. On the academic front, there’s a need for proper documentation and streamlining which needs to be scaled up on an urgent basis. The institutions of higher learning, need to focus more upon the skill based education to address the growing skill versus demand gap.

Fashion is one of the most challenging industries and despite gaining professional education, the conviction to make a mark in the industry should come from within. Therefore, it is vital for students and teachers to contemplate various career facets of the Fashion industry and then take the right steps towards achieving success.

Who is your favourite fashion designer? And which young designer do you think is going to make it big?

Craig Green, Moncler, London-born designer who is globally respected for the ingenuity, functionality and freedom of expression in his work. He focuses on the elements that are closely linked to the human condition. I personally like his creation and he is undoubtedly making big in fashion industry.

What inspires you every day? 

I firmly believe that every individual has tremendous unexplored potential. One must challenge oneself and each day should be a new discovery. In that light I draw from within, to inspire myself and my students. Creativity and Design in everything around inspires me to learn and unlearn and induct the experiences of daily life in my professional work.

 

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