India’s National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT)
The center for fashion education in India teaches Optitex 2D and 3D solutions in its Knitwear Design Department so students learn critical skills they’ll need to compete.
In 1986 the Government of India established the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) under the Ministry of Textiles. Since then, NIFT has emerged as the country’s leading institution for educating professionals in design, management and technology so that they may take leadership positions in the global fashion business.
A pioneer in the development of fashion business education, NIFT operates 15 professionally managed centers throughout India, providing a common platform for fashion education, research and training. The NIFT’s pool of highly creative and technically skilled professionals set academic standards and promote thought leadership in India’s burgeoning fashion industry.
“A real breakthrough”
Consistent with its mission to incorporate the most state-of-the-art technology in student learning, NIFT has adopted Optitex 2D and 3D software solutions in its Knitwear Design Department. In a June 2012 interview, Prof. Kripal Mathur, Chairperson of NIFT’s Knitwear Design Department, said: "The introduction of Optitex in the curriculum is a real breakthrough. The highlight of Optitex is the live simulation, which helps students of the Knitwear Design Department to visualize the designed product in real time. Optitex will motivate and add more excitement in the design development work of the students.”
Prof. Mathur stated that the new software will give students a much more realistic view, virtually, of how the fabric will actually look and perform physically. “Before Optitex we were using Adobe software and Coral Draw to teach our students pattern making, virtual sampling, virtual draping and computerized rating. It was a challenge, since working in 2D does not give the same feel as in 3D. We were lacking the actual look of the fabrics — how they look and how they drape.”
3D visualization is critical, she stated, not just to produce a better garment, but also to help students learn advanced tools and methods.
“NIFT is progressing all the time. Our curriculum changes with the needs and the development of the technology, as an institute for fashion technology, we have a very positive attitude towards new technologies. It was clear to us that being a part of the textile industry today requires understanding 3D. That understanding can’t be achieved by using the graphic software tools we used before, but has to be taught through the professional tools which are made especially for that purpose, like Optitex.”
A Significant Career Advantage
As the country’s center for fashion education, NIFT wanted to make sure it selected the best 3D solution possible for its students. So NIFT undertook a rigorous evaluation before deciding on Optitex.
“We did a market survey and compared the options,” Prof. Mathur stated. “Optitex representatives came to us and gave us a very good and clear demonstration. We could see that Optitex is very practical, that it is easy to learn, that it is the most advanced solution available and that it creates the added value that we were looking for — like how to increase productivity and accuracy. We knew that by teaching it to our students, they would gain a significant advantage in the career placement process later on.”
Prithviraj Mal theCentre co-ordinator of the knitwear department in NIFT Hyderabad said that the selected software had to pass some very specific requirements. “The NIFT team did research and compared the leading software solutions. Eventually we decided to go for Optitex because we were impressed by the 3D options, the animation — the parametric dummy. Optitex software is high quality. The software is highly functional and we could see that our students would utilize the technology easily.”
Dr. I Rajitha, an assistant professor in the division, agreed, adding: “When I was a student I worked with AutoCAD for patternmaking and later started to work with more advanced software solutions in the textile field. I found that Optitex has many more options in 3D and animation when compared to these competitors.”
A second assistant professor, Shivanand Sharma, explains the Optitex selection this way: “The main advantage I see for NIFT is that we can teach a big portion of the material using 3D and fit animation. We will also continue to work with the physical samples, but the 3D simulation enables much more flexibility in the teaching process and lets us cover more ground in less time, which means that the student will learn more.”
Department chairperson Mathur also likes how Optitex protects NIFT’s technology investment.
“As an institute for fashion technology we have to stay up to date and since Optitex is continuously upgrading and improving its modules, it enables us to improve all the time with the new demands of the industry without the need to purchase another technology. We see Optitex as more of a solution provider than a technology provider. There is a big difference. A technology you get one time, and after two years you need a new one. But since we have chosen a solution — it will keep upgrading.”
She also sees the current Optitex implementation as just the beginning. “I hope all NIFT Centres will get Optitex soon . It will be very beneficial to students when they start working as professionals. All the export manufacturers in India are using this technology. If our students are trained on Optitex they will be well prepared.”