My most FAQ

This post is an ode to the most Frequently Asked Question I get.
It comes to me via Facebook, SMS, email, Whatsapp, over the phone, in person. You name it, I have been asked this question and its variants through all forms of communication.

And I love answering it. Because I get this kick out of being able to explain something that for once, I fully understand :P

What is the question?

'Hey, you're in NIFT, right? Can you tell me about it?'

Yes, I'm aware that's technically two, but you get the point.
And I was in NIFT. I graduated this May.

So I have decided to make a blog post outlining the most FAQ's that are associated with this FAQ. This goes out to people who want to make fashion design a career and are looking at my college as an option. It also tells freshers who are joining and their parents what to expect.

Disclaimer : I am no expert in career/course counselling by ANY means, nor do I claim to be. This is not a post forcing you to pick Fashion Design in NIFT as your chosen path. Also, I just graduated so I do not know much about the post-degree career experiences as I have only freelanced and done an internship. Although I have a pretty decent picture, I'd rather not include that in this post because I myself am still figuring it out. No false information or promises, see?

This post is also for parents who want to know more about the course before they send you there.

Also, I will be talking mostly about the Fashion Design course, because I obviously know most about that one, being the degree that I hold. For more details on all the other courses please go to :)

Without further ado, here we go.

1. Why did you choose NIFT? And why Chennai?

Simple. It is the premier institute for Fashion Design in the country (my parents didn't want me to leave the country for UG). I also wanted a degree, not a diploma.

Chennai because again, parents wanted me home for UG. They thought I'd cause too much trouble and fail all my courses if I was elsewhere (KIDDING MOM/DAD.) Although I wouldn't have minded Mumbai or Bangalore for FD, I probably would have failed miserably at taking care of myself as I sometimes go a bit overboard with the work. Sometimes.

2. Why did you choose Fashion Design?

Because the course sounded awesome. I had two people that were both my seniors in the same course, so I bombarded them with questions before my entrances. (sorry guys :P) I wanted to learn how to not only design, but execute them as well. Also, FD is the only course which requires you to stitch all your final collection garments by yourself in the fourth year. For an amazing fashion show. Which I thought was amazing. Plus, it touched upon a lot of other subjects that I really liked the sound of.

3. Wait, you said sew. Do I have to learn how to sew before I come?

Yes. A lot of my classmates had no idea we actually had intensive classes on knowing how to stitch. If I didn't have wise seniors, I wouldn't have known either. And not at all. You will learn it all from scratch in college, from the most basic operation, to the most complex.

I started off pretty retarded and messy and ended up marginally better than when I started. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I even did it. (Hats off to my Garment Construction teachers)

4. What is the course like?

Okay. Now this question is very subjective and open ended, so I'm going to leave my personal experience out of it and just give you a general view.

Fashion Design is one of the most work intensive courses. You will be doing hands-on things for a majority of your classes.
You must be ready to work very, very hard in some classes/semesters. It is no cakewalk. But the rewards outweigh the struggle, trust me. Especially when you look at your first, finished garment.
You NEED to manage your time well. Slow learner, fast learner, it doesn't matter. Execution is what actually counts. There are a lot of deadlines to meet and if you don't make a timetable for yourself, assignments will pile up like an avalanche and envelope you.
You learn all sorts of things. From the history of fashion, to business, to how to properly sew on a hook or a button; it's a very extensive course. Which is great because, you can see what you liked most and really do well in that subject and go beyond the classroom. You may even make a career/brand out of something you made in a random construction class!
On a personal note:
I loved some of the courses so much that I'd really overdo the work on the assignments. Photography, History of Fashion, Research and stuff were things that I loved and the work didn't even feel like work.
Yes, I couldn't stand some of the subjects. But this is to be expected - you can't love them all. You just need to find what you're good at and excel at that.

5. Did you always know you wanted to do fashion in high school?

Yes. After the 9th grade or so (I wanted to be a journalist till then), I think I read Vogue properly for the first time and was sucked in. I used to doodle clothes a lot in class (oops). I did not, however, go for any 'coaching classes'. I think they are an unbelievable waste of time and money. I do not think you can 'learn' creativity or be 'taught' how to answer questions for the entrance.

6. Are there foreign exchange opportunities?

Absolutely. I personally went on a six month exchange to the University of Leeds in my second year. I loved it so much. It is brilliant exposure and you meet all kinds of people.

I would completely recommend these opportunities to anyone else. Each year, MOU's with different Universities are made, so keep your eyes peeled and keep checking the notice board!

7. How do I dress to college?

This is probably one of the reasons that I love my college. In Chennai, where most colleges make girls wear salwars the whole time (all-girls colleges too, what is the POINT?), it is so refreshing to have no dress code.

Because a lot of the work is physical, it is so easy to be in shorts and an oversized tee when you're on your hands and knees dyeing or cutting something. In the first year, I think we all loved dressing up every day and wearing something cute but as the years progress, I think that changes a bit. You dress for comfort and ease. But of course, in the most stylish way possible :P (I'm kidding, my mother was APPALLED at my fourth year wardrobe. I used to dress so casually people on the train would look at me pityingly). There are always those days when you wake up feeling nice and you've slept the night before and you want to look awesome for no reason. I am totally of the belief that a good outfit can make your day amazing. Especially when you've had a bad work week or something.

8. What were your biggest challenges?

Probably the top one was travel. I live in Anna Nagar and to get all the way to Taramani every day was no easy feat. I took a train in the morning and a train + bus back home in the evening. In my final year I used to ask for the car because I had to lug quite a lot of stuff each day. So my days started really early and ended late because I lost quite a lot of time in travel.

Another one was staying focused. I am someone that LOVES what I do, don't get me wrong. But sometimes the work does get a little crazy and you just give up. And want to curl up and bawl your eyes out. But trust me, it all does pass. Somehow, you push through the assignments. And you can sleep after. I promise it'll be the best sleep that you ever had.

Staying healthy was another one. Because I lost a couple hours each day in travel, this cut down my work time, which in turn cut down my sleep time. I used to get headaches and colds a lot because my immune system did not take it. And  consistent time management only kicked in for me properly in my fourth year. Learn from my mistake and have a decent sleep cycle. For this, you NEED to schedule your work. Yes, there will be a few all nighters but your body will be able to take it with no strain if you sleep all the other nights of the week.

9. One regret?

I wish I had taken better pictures of my work. With Instagram and Pixlr, you can really do wonders. Process pictures are always useful and can make your non-design friends go all OH MY GOD HOW DID YOU DO THAT. I used to take very boring, flat pictures of my work in first and second year. Don't. If you like an assignment. Put some effort into it and photograph it properly. I freaking love photography and image editing although I am NO professional at all, so taking pictures of my work now will be really fun.


  1. Achu, I love your blogs! This was the most intriguing post, titlewise.
    I love how you've focused on the 'good's and 'bad's of the course, without being biased.

    A very relatable post. Great job, Achu! More posts sooon!

  2. Aww, thank you for reading everything, means a LOT :*
    And more posts very soon :D

  3. Nice blog.......Thank you for sharing your experience with us
    NIFT Coaching Institutes in Lucknow


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