In the past, Odisha was never really considered a frontrunner when it comes to fashion. Despite boasting of an unparalleled textiles and weaving culture, Odisha had a negligible presence on the fashion map of India. But over the last few years, the tables have certainly been turned! The Odia models and designers winning national and international recognition, the growing popularity of Odisha looms at the international platform and the entry of different lifestyle brands to the Odisha market provide ample testimony to this. Following the suit, the design institutes of national and international repute have also played a major part in attracting the younger masses towards the industry. One such institute is Bhubaneswar-based JD Institute of Fashion Technology. Started in 2014, the institute has created waves thanks to its untiring efforts to popularize fashion and interior design in Odisha.
Under the able guidance of Vishal Subudhi (Centre Director, JD Institute of Fashion Technology Bhubaneswar), the institute has achieved many milestones and accolades during the course of its four years of journey in Bhubaneswar. Today the institute is synonymous with fashion and interior design. Feted with the prestigious Best Designing Institute Award of Odisha by the Network 18 Co. in the year 2015, the institute aspires to change the way fashion and interior design is seen and perceived in our society by churning out fashion and interior design role-models.
It all started when Vishal returned to Bhubaneswar after completing MBA from Singapore with a plan to start his own venture. “My family was already into interior trade business. But my father Sibadutta Subudhi always wanted to open a design institute for the students. Back then, I also noticed that Bhubaneswar had only a handful of fashion or interior design institutes. So I envisioned to open a fashion design institute at par with national standards. Once I was going through a magazine when I accidentally came across an advertisement of JD Institute. I consulted my father and had talks with the head office of JD Institute. Thus JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Bhubaneswar became a reality and the classes began on 21st August, 2014,” he reminisces, adding that the objective was to provide quality fashion and interior design studies to the students and give them a proper platform to realize their dreams.
But it wasn’t a cakewalk for Vishal and his team initially. From scouting quality faculties to fixing a proper syllabus structure, he had to go through a lot of hardships. “It was very challenging to convince people regarding fashion and interior design as a career option. Their only query was about placements. We had to convince them that this field is all about innovation, creativity and imagination that no other courses offer. It took us time but with Lord Jagannath’s blessings, we sailed through and today we proudly stand as one of the most sought-after design institutes of the state,” he points out.
Strategically located in Sahid Nagar, JD Institute has the state-of-the-art infrastructure with facilities like cafeteria, student’s lounge, library, interior and designing labs, etc. It offers a full spectrum of fashion courses from fashion design, interior design, jewellery design, visual merchandizing and fashion photography. “Our infrastructure and other facilities are second to none. The experienced team of teaching and non-teaching faculties are our strength who work day-in and day-out to nurture the students and their potential. We regularly invite prominent designers and architects who interact with our students and share their experiences in the industry,” he says adding that the JD Institute has its own campus in India across 28 states and an international campus in London as well.
The annual event of the institute, JD Annual Design Awards is one of the most awaited events of Bhubaneswar. Touted as Odisha’s biggest institutional design award ceremony, JD Annual Design Awards showcases the design works of the students and gives them a platform to become the designers of tomorrow. The ceremony which is always attended by the who’s who of the industry comes up with a theme every year to promote social awareness among the masses. “The theme of this year’s annual design award was THE CHANGE. An attempt was made to bring a change in terms of the mentality, social issues and worldly affairs among others through fashion. I am glad the JD family has always succeeded in doing its bit to create awareness through fashion. This has given us immense strength and inspiration to grow,” he said.
Recently the institute successfully completed four years of educational excellence in Bhubaneswar. This has raised hopes among the youngsters to dream big in the world of fashion and interior design. “Touchwood, I had never thought that we would come this far. This has been the outcome of the hard work of students and teachers, blessings of the people and Lord Jagannath. Today, it is fulfilling to see that we have, directly or indirectly, contributed a lot to bring about a fashion renaissance in the society,” he said smilingly.
He is happy to see the tremendous growth of fashion industry in the state but still feels there is room for improvement. “Bhubaneswar has certainly come of age when it comes to fashion. Several national and international fashion and lifestyle brands are slowly eyeing the Bhubaneswar market owing to its huge potential. The numbers of fashion shows happening in the city has immensely grown. But there’s a long way to go before we become complacent. There exists a certain section of people in our society who still misunderstand the term fashion. Our Govt. should make efforts to introduce fashion-related courses in schools and colleges. Proper counselling of students will also help a lot,” says Vishal.
Today Vishal is happy and satisfied to see the success of his alumnus who have created a niche for themselves in their respective fields. “So far over 120 students have successfully passed out from the institute. This is yet another achievement for us. My happiness knows no bound when I see my students get settled and work independently. While some of them have started their own design label, a few are working for reputed lifestyle brands.”
With many national and international tie-ups to its credit, the JD Institute has taken a step forward and partnered with the London College of Fashion, a premier global design institute. Selected students from different branches of JD Institute across the country would get a chance to complete a 21-day fashion styling course and thereby take part in the London Fashion Week as well. Speaking on the vast opportunities that the institute offers, he says, “We believe in creating fashion entrepreneurs hence our academic programmes are crafted in such a way that students after completing their courses can open their own fashion house, boutique, assist senior designers and can be future fashion entrepreneurs. We have included soft skills modules like personality development, market research, organizational skills, etc. that helps the students get industry-ready. Besides, the JD Institute has started student exchange programs this year to improve the student’s experiences on other culture, tradition and looms. Our students will also get a chance to visit other branches later this year.”
In the past JD Bhubaneswar has been the knowledge partner to several fashion and design events, calendar launches and brand promotions happening in and around Bhubaneswar like Blender’s Pride Fashion Week, Bhubaneswar Style Week, to name a few. “Our students get ample opportunities through such events wherein they get to work with some the finest designers, models and celebrities of the industry. This motivates them a lot to work harder, know the industry closely and become one like them in the future,” he said. Interestingly, the JD Institute has joined hands with a leading movie production house in the South to produce a tri-lingual movie starring Odia actor Sabyasachi Mishra which is expected to release this year. This is for the first time that an Indian design institute will foray into film industry to extensively promote fashion.
Among the many ambitious plans, Vishal plans to open a bigger campus with hostel facilities soon. “There are plans to come up with short term courses especially for the housewives in the near future. We will organize many ramp shows, exhibitions, tie-up with famous celebrities and have cool advertising campaigns to spread our wings. Further, we also plan to visit schools and colleges and conduct workshops about fashion and interior design courses.” with fingers crossed Vishal signs off.
Wishing JD Institute and Vishal all the success in their future endeavours.
By Subhojit Panda