'Journey from Textile & Clothing to Fashion & Lifestyle' published in Textile Value Chain, Issue # 3,Vol 2, Oct-Dec'13


"Mentoring Education Standards" article in "The Peace Gong" Newsletter published by Media and Information Literacy Initiative of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore Foundation


Dainik Jagran – Josh: National Edition | Page ‘Gurukool’ | Date October 31, 2013


September 2013



Perspectives on design

August 2013

By Catherine Jewell, Communications Division, WIPO

Three big names in the world of design - Argentinian designer Adrián Cohan, Indian design educator, Darlie Koshy and South African design activist and founder of Design Indaba, Ravi Naidoo, came together at WIPO's Innovation by Design Forum in May 2013 to highlight the huge potential of design as a driver of innovation and wealth creation. The Forum took place on the sidelines of the Standing Committee on Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Industrial Designs (SCT), where WIPO member states are developing an international legal framework to simplify design registration procedures. The three panelists shared their unique perspectives with WIPO Magazine.

(Photo: Design Indaba/Adrián Cohan)

A designer's perspective

Policymakers increasingly recognize the key role design plays in driving economic development and social progress, but what is it about designers and how they work that is attracting so much attention?

"Designers have a unique ability to interpret reality and the capacity to look at the same problems in a different way and come up with new solutions," Mr. Adrián Cohán explained.

"We add value by connecting the dots between what companies are able to make and what people need. It's about finding the best solution between the possible and the desirable," he said.

There is still some way to go however, before the contribution that designers can make in driving innovation, creating value and developing workable solutions to many tough social challenges is fully recognized. "The design profession is still a poor cousin," Mr. Cohan noted. "For a handful of companies, design is core to their business strategy, but for thousands of others it isn't," he said. Beyond an unjustifiable lack of formal recognition, Mr. Cohan explained that some of the toughest practical challenges facing designers arise from the complexity of the legal landscape. "I would like to see one law everywhere," Mr. Cohan said. "Making the system cheaper and easier to use would be good, but at [the] core you need a law that protects everything in a similar way with minimal scope for interpretation. That's not happening. Policymakers need to synthesize laws and procedures so they are easier to use. "

An educator's perspective

Simplifying the legal framework and streamlining design registration procedures is also on the mind of Dr. Darlie Koshy, Director General and CEO of India's Institute of Apparel Management and Apparel Training and Design Centre with its main campus in Gurgaon. Complex procedures mean that "designers do not have the understanding, the time or the money to secure the protection they need," he said.

India's implementation of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO), has increased awareness of the need for and use of the intellectual property (IP) system in India. However, "we are still at a nascent stage in terms of IP usage and our capacity is still very low, but with simplified, rapid procedures and lower registration fees this will continue to grow," he said.

India's textile and garment sector currently directly
employs over 45 million people. Awareness of the need
for and use of IP within the sector has increased but
remains low. Indian fashion designers who have
successfully protected their designs in the courts include
Ritu Kumar (design featured above).
(Photo: Design Indaba/Ritu Kumar)

Creative ecosystems boost economic growth

Commenting on the link between creative ecosystems and economic growth, he said that a country's competitiveness, economic progress and ability to improve living standards are increasingly linked to its capacity to innovate. For this reason, "we need to embrace IP to stimulate wealth creation and make a far greater impact on the value chain; innovation and design are very important elements in achieving this," he said. Regarding India's textiles and garment sector, which currently directly employs over 45 million people, he cautioned that, "unless we encourage small businesses to protect their designs they will not flourish. We are part of a global marketplace, and we need to create original designs for that market. In a globalized world, it is doubly important that small businesses use IP to protect their territorial presence. " Engaging and expanding participation of the creative class to around 25 percent (from the current level of 14 percent) is key to securing the "multiplier effect" of the creative sector on the Indian economy he said.

Despite major improvements in India's design education landscape, Dr. Koshy underlined the need for policymakers and universities "to think about ways to encourage India's creators to create, protect, manage, monetize and enforce their IP rights. We need to move away from assembly-line schooling and allow people to think for themselves. Education needs to be more focused on leadership, entrepreneurship, design and innovation. We need to encourage risk and tolerate mistakes. In a risk-averse society, there is no innovation," he said.

A need for stronger university-industry links

Stronger university-industry collaboration and the development of business incubators would enable stronger market-based design research, create employment and support university start-ups, he noted. He further underlined the benefits of embedding IP and industrial design cells in major academic institutions to help design students develop their ideas and commercialize them. "If you want to create a creative class, you need to encourage the creation of IP within design institutions and support the development of microenterprises, which can result in wealth creation. Students have good ideas, but they don't know how to take them forward. If they had someone to advise them, the scenario would really change," he said.

"Universities and policymakers need to look at the entire chain - creating, protecting, managing, monetizing and enforcing IP," he said. "Our job is to make simplicity out of complexity and bring that simplicity to the layman so that small inventors in villages across India understand they can earn money from their work, and are doing something important for the country. When such consciousness is widespread, a society becomes innovative. " Vocational training to relieve skills shortages and the availability of practical

IP-related information to support creators in protecting and leveraging their work are also essential.

Looking forward, Dr. Koshy underlined the increasingly collaborative nature of design. He further highlighted an emerging trend - the rise of the new Chief Emotion Officers (CEOs) whose role is to develop strategies to create an emotional connection with consumers. "Every manufacturer wants their product to stand out in the minds of consumers, because mind share leads to market share and profitability," he said. "People want to reignite their lives, so products have to become services and services have to become experiences. This transformation is the key to design success. No product today is without service, and no service can exist today without experience. In linking these, designers become very effective creatures," he stresses.

A design activist's view

For Mr. Ravi Naidoo, Managing Director of Interactive Africa in Cape Town and founder of the internationally-renowned Design Indaba, design goes beyond consumers and is, more broadly, about servicing community needs. "Design is a vital component of the economy, and it plays a crucial role in enabling us to reimagine our societies," he said.

"Creativity is the ultimate renewable resource. In a world that is resource-challenged, you will always have an idea. There is never a bad time for a good idea," he said pointing to economic benefits flowing from the creative industries globally. "Design can give you a competitive advantage and can be a unique differentiator for the economy. "

"Ideas are currency and a country's most valuable capital. The real estate between your ears is vital," he said, noting "the real gold is not mined three kilometers below Johannesburg; the real gold is walking on the streets of Johannesburg. "

Design Indaba is inspiring a new generation of African
creators. The country's flourishing design sector is
starting to have a significant impact on the economy.
(Photo: Design Indaba/Adriaan Kuiters)

Design Indaba - creating a bushfire of creativity

In 1994, at the dawn of democracy in South Africa, and convinced of the transformative power of creativity, Mr. Naidoo set up Design Indaba. Initially a conference to exchange ideas, Design Indaba has become the biggest creative design platform in the southern hemisphere and now boasts a huge exhibition (with 487 exhibitors from South Africa), a film festival and various music events. This annual event has added an estimated 1 billion rand (approximately US$10 billion) to the economy and is now firmly established on the global design circuit. "Design is going to continue to play a huge role in South Africa's economy and is also going to help solve some of our most vexing problems," Mr. Naidoo said. "There is vibrant, intelligent life in Africa, and people are getting up early in the morning, pedaling hard and producing some amazing things. "

Design Indaba brings together the world's creative leaders to "create a ‘bushfire' of creativity," Mr. Naidoo explains. "We want to crank up Africa, give it a stretch by exposing its people to the best of the class in every sector of creative endeavor. We want to inspire a new generation of African innovators " The Expo creates opportunities for indigenous people to learn about IP and to work with top designers, using their traditional skills to create high-value products and offering a way for Africans to "sell their wares to the world," Mr. Naidoo said.

South Africa emerges as a creative hub

South Africa is fast becoming a creative hub. "We are not only starting to generate creative products for ourselves but we are starting to share and sell them to the world," he said, pointing to growing international recognition that South Africa is a "creativity outsource hub ", the place to go for quirky and imaginative content. The Design Indaba team is now working with its international partners to establish similar platforms in other cities, including Amsterdam and Shanghai. Such is the power of example.

Designing solutions to social problems

As proof of how design can improve lives, the Design Indaba team set a number of challenges to address acute social problems, such as low-cost housing. "We corralled the world's best architectural brains to help ‘crack the code' for low-cost housing," Mr. Naidoo said. The resulting dwellings have been built in a squatter settlement in Cape Town and are now being built elsewhere in Africa.

Similarly, through its "Your Street Challenge " initiative, which is running in eight cities around the world, Design Indaba encourages designers to go into their streets and imagine ways to improve the quality of life of those living in them, in return for a grant to make the project happen. "There have been some amazing results. There is lots of scope for creativity and design to be used in a more civic-minded way, and to improve existing infrastructure," said Mr. Naidoo, explaining that he believed such challenges are an effective means of encouraging change and promoting excellence.

Advice for young designers starting out:

Adrián Cohan: "Design is not an art. It's a profession, and you need to be passionate about design to overcome the problems that arise. You need to get really involved in it if you want to succeed. "

Darlie Koshy: "Designers should stay away from copying at all costs and believe in originality even if success is delayed or a flood of work does not come their way. To succeed, designers need to know their customers and the materials they work with. It is a tough profession. Even a small mistake can completely damage a product and eventually cause irreparable harm to a designers' reputation. "

Ravi Naidoo: "Out of the deeply personal comes the universal. Solve your problem, solve the problem on your street and you may find that your solution is relevant to 10,000 streets. When you design for 10,000 streets, you design for no street, but when you design for your street, it could be applicable to 10,000 of them. "

Source: http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2013/04/article_0008.html


Upscaling apparel sector for global competitiveness

June 2013

Source: The Political and Economic Journal of Sikkim Vol 1 Issue 4 Page No 10,11


Darlie Koshy to head vocational program for apparel sector

Monday, 03 June 2013

All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Darlie Koshy, DG & CEO, Instituted of Apparel Management (IAM) and ATDC to develop level one to level seven courses on fashion marketing and management with HND, UK-type progression along with allied details for establishing vocational program for the apparel sector. “With world’s population ageing fast, it is estimated that by 2040, the average age of 65 and above is expected to reach 1.3 billion out of total world population. This trend is expected to result in acute labour shortage in many parts of the world, especially western countries. In India, due to world’s youngest population of around 550 million youth, we will find a distinct advantage. Indian population is also amongst largest English speaking population in the world and it will play a key role in building adaptive skilled workforce,” explains Koshy.

Current estimates indicate that two percent of the Indian workforce is formally skilled, while around 12.8 million workforce enroll every year with existing training capacities and the present infrastructure is only able to address a small proportion. Considering the present situation and need to build skilled capacities, AICTE decided to set up a committee to develop NVEQF for the apparel sector, which will help in building a long-term model to provide employability skills to the aspirants joining the apparel sector.

Source: International website FashionUnited India ( www.fashionunited.in)


Interview of the Day: 'FDI in retail has increased interest of designers to design affordable fashion goods'

Wednesday, 03 July 2013

What is the state of the fashion and apparel industry in India? Where does it stand globally?

Indian Domestic branded garment/couture – prêt fashion wear are concerned, the market size has leapfrogged from around 150-200 Cr. In early 90s to almost Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 Cr. with considerable expansion happening every year though there has been a slow down; despite the slowdown there is a CAGR of 12-15%.

Indian Fashion industry has completed a quarter of a century if you go by the formal world of fashion opening the doors from 1988 with the setting up of NIFT. Out of the Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 Cr. branded garment industry, the designer segment continues to be relatively small with about Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000 Cr. i.e. 10% of the market with bridal and ethnic wear dominating the scene. Most of the designer-wear brands without bridal wear would be running into losses but the prêt fashions at affordable prices especially youth dominated fashions are galloping in mindshare and market share. With the entry of FDI in retail, there is an increased attention by established designers to design affordable fashion goods. Retailers like Westside and Benetton have tied-up with leading designers to expand the premium segment of co-branded designer-wear.

What have been the key innovations in the industry in the last few years?

One of the key innovations in the industry is related to denim wears and cult brands like ‘Mufti’ are doing well. Contoured and slim fit garments have been the main staple of men’s garments. In terms of other innovations, there has been lot of mixed fabric usage like ‘knits’ and ‘woven’ or print on woven etc. Prints have even found their way even in couture as recent Milan fashion week indicates.

What are some of the major challenges for the sector?

The major challenges of the sector include limited fabric choice available in India. Fabric sourcing depends heavily on Hong Kong, Taiwan, China etc. The same is the case with trims and embellishments. The Indian fashions tend to sell only in festive seasons or in marriage linked seasons and other seasons are slack.

What strategies can help fashion and apparel industry to get a competitive edge? How can academia and government aid in this?

The Fashion and Apparel industry needs to certainly cut-down the cycle time from concept to consumer. Fast fashions have become a reality. Novelty and new store fits demand great deal of innovation. Brands like Zara and Mango have redefined young fashion and the new age design sensibilities. The leading stockists of designer-wear were like Melange, Aza, Kimaya, Ogan etc. are moving to consignment system with designers instead of all cash deals. Working capital is short with designers and most of them do not get a decent return even after they tie-up with retailers. The Government has set-up revolving incubation fund of Rs.10 Cr. to help product designers to become entrepreneurs. For the fashion industry, by way of venture capital or incubation, nothing has been done by the Government to help the fashion designers to conceptualise products / brands and to become “designpreuners’. Indian fashion has now big opportunities to influence the global fashion because of 500 million plus youth in the country with median age of 27.

With the business environment changing at a fast pace, what skill sets are essential for potential job-seekers in the industry?

The generations of designers and merchandisers trained in NIFT and other institutions from 1988-2000 require to completely change their tool sets with digital pattern making, digital merchandising and use of social digital marketing, e-tailing etc. These skill sets along with ability to ‘tell a story’ built around collections will determine their success as designers. There is need for more deep-dive research for developing innovations and about the target groups seeking specific lifestyle or cult brands.

What does the future holds for apparel and fashion industry? Geographically, where do you see the maximum growth and employment opportunities in this sector (metros/small cities)?

The future of apparel and fashion industry is very bright as the per capita consumption of ready to wear apparel is still very low in India i.e. it is about 1 or two trousers per capita and 0.03 per capita when it comes to jeans against 7-8 pieces in other countries or even up to 15 in developed economies. There is huge scope in wearable, affordable fashion. As apparel manufacturing and retailing find their way into Tier I / II / III cities, the markets would further open up with close linkages between manufacturing and domestic markets. However, the media, designer and fashion retailer ‘golden triangle’ is still weak in our country and here a lot of work needs to be done by FDC I/Lakme Fashion Week etc.

Source: TimesJobs.com

An IIT PhD, Dr. Darlie Koshy constantly seeks ways to improve education in India

The Art of innovation




Design is an evolving knowledge
industry opportunity that India
needs to wake up to at the earliest

As in most fields of academics today, design education is also facing tougher challenges as the first decade of 21st century ends in turbulence on many fronts. The approach to design education inn post-independent India has been crafts and skills orineted set very much in an apprenticeship mode whereas today design has to break boundaries and discover the merging areas and the leading edge of various domains and their interfaces.

India is now in the throes of change in many spheres and the deep socio-economic changes portend a new India on the anvil with "1986 new value generation" taking reins by 2020. The sweeping winds of change effect the profession of design and therefore the approach to both under-graduate and post-graduate design education and training programmes need to be redesigned as we prepare GenNext designers.

It has been indicated by several studies that a country which embraces design as a tool for accelerated economic development also creates a very competitive economy with sustainable advantages, while at the same time fulfilling consumer needs with creative products and services that the people regard as their own.

Indeed, proud are the people of those countries that have produced international brands successfully--the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and in the recent years South Korea. There is great respect in the world for their designs and creative talent and prowess. In this sense, the name that few sectors like information technology, textiles and apparel have brought to Made in India brand needs to be extended to several other sectors so that designed in India achievees a prominent place.

The following two areas for design interventions are in my view critical for first phase of design development in developing economy. Design development through an integrated strategic approach for upgrading small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to create a global presence and recognition of India's widespread entrepreneurial spriti and business acumen. This is a matter of both necessity and urgence in the context of maintaining a growth trajectory and for employment generation.

Another focus for design in development is in the area of services both public and private wherein design intervention could potentially have a positive impact on the lives of millions in India. Design is a evolving knowledge industry upportunity that India needs to wake up to at the earliest and like all other knowledge industries, the principal force driving growth and oppurtunity is an adequate, technically qualified human resource base.

China is reported to have over 400 schools offering design courses that together graduate about 10,000 industrial designers annually, up from just above 1,500 or so five years ago. In Britain, it is estimated through a survey in 2003-04 that the employment of design sector is 185,000 with atleast 134,000 designers.

India has less than 5,000 qualified industrial and communication designers. There is a need to design a robust futuristic curriculum that assists in achieving the goal of creating appropiate "hands on, minds on" talents for diverse sectors of industry and services.

Another fundamental and important step is to blend technical educational streams in engineering, medicine and other professional courses with the envelope of design. To begin with, all Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology across India need to introduce a suitable and appropiate design course among the essential courses needed for program completion.

A target of developing about 10,000 to 15,000 design majors annually in the next three to five years will need about 2,000 teachers of design. Extensive centres for faculty development and training in conjunction with a few strategic domestic and foreign universities need to be funded as a first step in achieving our goals.

[Published in APPAREL INDIA, March 2009 issue]




© 2014 Dr. Darlie O. Koshy. All rights reserved.