TEXTILE VALUE CHAIN have taken special interview with Educationist, Varun Mehrotra,  is an Assistant Professor with the department of Fashion Design. He holds a degree of Bachelor in Fashion Technology (NIFT Mumbai) and Masters in Fashion Technology (NIFT Delhi) specialization in Apparel Production and Management. He is an Apparel manufacturing veteran inspiring and guiding fashion industry organisation with expertise in manufacturing excellence, productivity improvement through lean management technology, innovation and research, industry 4.0, industrial engineering and sustainable win-win solutions for supply chain key stakeholders and certified trainer with over 9+ years of contribution to the fashion industry.

Tell us about your educational qualifications. What motivated you to complete your studies till masters degree? And why did you chose this stream?

I am an Assistant Professor with the department of Fashion Design in NIFT. I hold the degree of Bachelor in Fashion Technology(NIFT Mumbai) and Masters in Fashion Technology (NIFT Delhi) specialising in Apparel Production & Management.

As far as motivation is concerned, apparel manufacturing is one of the growing industries in India after agriculture. Talking about scope and opportunities, apparel industry has a huge demand of trained and skilled work force and professionals and NIFT is one of them caters to the same.

  • As apart of being an academician, research is an integral part. How do you develop a research temperament or what motivates you to carry out research in your labs?

The motivation for carrying out research Comes from one’s inner self. The environment is also one of the factors by which people are ignited or initiated to do research. Also, motivated people can produce and publish scientific research in an Academic environment. It is a hard job to produce regular novelties. This organisation gives The scientific environment and the high-class lab facilities for the experimentation besides the serious teaching contribution. The main part of the research with this organisation is the industry connect of the organisation to take out new projects as per the needs and demands of the industry to cover up voids by the brain storming and developing new concepts or new devices which may help in the improvement of the process or product for the better future

  • Would you like to share some interesting incidents /instances that happened with you  while working as a consultant to different industries or while teaching a batch of students…

When I was working with a consulting firm and a sole agent of the industrial sewing machines I was posted in the Bangalore head office and we used to travel all the way from the main city of Bangalore to Doddaballapur apparel park that is the out skirts of the Bangalore city. We had initiated a project where we have reduced a complete shift in the cutting department just by tweaking the machine component and the process and it was very beneficial to the customers which impacted the overall revenue generation of the same company.

After that when I joined another company that is an export house situated in Faridabad on the very first day I was moving from the gate to the reception area and was very excited to see all around while walking from the front Gate and I took time to observe all the things on the left hand side and the right hand side while walking. So the main thing was on the very first day there was no objective defined and also I was not that much focused to accomplish any of the objective but on the very second day I was directed to join or punch at 9 o’clock in the morning so in that case on the same route I never I never thought of observing the same thing what I was observing on the first day the point was when any body has an objective or defined objective people are focused and dedicated to accomplish the main objective by  prioritizing their activities for the same so I learn to planning organising based upon the priorities to execute inatimely manner.

  • What are the major differences in the industries earlier and now?/ Tell us a bout the work ethics as well a part from the technological advancements.

As far as the major differences in the industry earlier and now is differences between the practice and the technology used. Let’s divide the major component of this industry into four different parts that is main machine material and me thodsso all four of this can be compared in terms of industry 1.0 and 4.0 Earlier people used to have very lengthy processes very basic machines without technology a very basic awareness of the material and the main component is skills of the worker but no we very thing has been upgraded as far as industry 4.0 is concerned every thing is recorded and available in the real-time to manage situations and for the fast or rapid decision making.

As far as scale is concerned now operators are multi skilled with latest machinery and latest processes to produce quality product

Just because of technology the lead time of the process has been reduced with the help of industry 4.0 tools like IOT artificial in telligence machine learning predictive maintenance virtual sampling augmented reality and much more.

  • How do you teach/ inform your students about the latest developments in the industry and make them ready for working in the industry?

Yes as far as teaching is concerned I never use different editions of books because this institute is purely based on the skill-based learning to enhance professional etiquette’s. Let’s take an example of people moving from campus to corporate there is avast gap in terms of professional etiquette’s and the campus disciplines to make people understand about the latest developments in the industry are usually connect people from the different apparel corporate houses, buying houses, apparel manufacturing units to interact with the students and discussing about the latest trends and the processes followed in the industry.

The second major component of the awareness of latest technologies and developments in the industry is internships, garment fair and workshops.

  • How do you think the pandemic has affected the education system?Tell us both the pros and cons

Pandemic has affected the education system very badly because people or students who managed to cover their semester by the help of virtual classrooms they have missed out the hands on experience which helps in enhancing professional skills for the upcoming future.

Virtual classrooms are not that much effective and impactful because everyone like students have learnt many things from themselve seven after attending classes.

The benefits of the pandemic for the students or they have hands on experience on the IT and technology.

Like how to use different platforms for communicating and interacting with different people. We also learn thow to conduct virtual sessions effectively.

One more benefit of the virtual sessions are for those people who have learnt seriously by attending virtual classes that they have learn to focus and manage time.

  • How are management studies important for Fashion Design students?How does it help in increasing productivity?

Management studies are very important for the fashion design students because it helps in managing the whole processor the business by the use of  different strategies like how to manage business how to manage customers and how to manage a complete firm.

It is very important to learn the marketing mix by dividing the 4p of the marketing that is price place product and promotion which is the necessity of the business to run flawlessly.

Marketing and management studies are very important because it helps in increasing productivity by proper planning organising and managing execution and interpersonal connect it also helps in conflict management time management and To enhance communication skills and individual persona.

  • Designing is an area in which there is a high chance of the designs/ patterns becoming monotonous.What according to you can help in bringing novelty and uniqueness in fashion designing/textile designing?

Designing is the area in which there is a high chance of the designs becoming more autonomous yes but as a designer they have a mindset of creating a new style with the help of existing one by brainstorming and adding some other elements very creatively to enhance the silhouettes, style,pattern and elements by the combination of blending fabrics or by blending different trims or by blending different component soft he garments in one of the garment.

As far as bringing novelty and uniqueness in the fashion design is concerned the major part of the technology is the need of an hour which will change the whole concept of making clothes and followed by the selling and recycling of the same.

  • What are so me measures that need to be taken as apart of the Quality Management in Apparel Production?

Some measures that need to be taken as a part of the quality management in production are real time defect management system use of technology in the production lines,use of the tools of Industry 4.0 in the complete supply chain starting from the fibre stage to yarn stage to fabric to garment to retail to consumers and the last is product recycling.

  • What is the fundamental difference between Fashion Technology and Fashion Design?most of the times these terms are used interchangeably but could you please explain the details of the two…

The fundamental difference between fashion technology and design art let’s take an example of the apparel industry which consist of different processes starting from the communication with the buyer that is fetching orders from the buyers then designing followed by sampling and then production after that shipment.

Now the part of the fashion design people starts from the waiting orders till sampling of the orders which consist of different processes like research on the previous forecast based garments by different brands.

Then working on the different ideas and extracting some elements from the research done on the basis of previous forecast and upcoming fashion forecast then designing of the garment with its complete range and development of the different styles designed during designing process.

Fashion technology consist of the management of the apparel production which includes inventory management quality management lean manufacturing IT related software’s production planning industry 4.0 IOT and many other components.

Technology process starts from merchandising of the product and the export house till shipment of the order is one of the part in production.

Technology or fashion technology also caters to retail merchandising buying and planning functions which are purely based on scientific calculations and facts.

  • What would be your suggestions for start-ups in the fashion technology/apparel manufacturing sector? How can these ventures grow, considering the immense competition that lies in this sector?

There is a vasts cope of latest start-ups in the apparel industry for a fashion technology expert or an apparel manufacturing expert only after certain exposure gained from the previous job done in industry.

It is advised to work for this company or in the same do main in which one wants to set up their start-up units also it is advised to work at least 3 to 5 years in the industry to connect and make individual image also to collect information and system works and different connections for procuring raw materials and export or sales related ideas from the existing player working in the industry.

These ventures will grow very fast with the help of social media by the visibility of the product to be initiated on the regular basis and also with the use of different digital marketing tools to enhance the user experience and there venue generation of the organisation.

  • What are the parameters that an apparel manufacturer must considering before launching a product? How can he/she tap the market and cater to the different variety of customers?

As far is launching of the product is concerned one has to defined the niche first then the facility to manufacture the product followed by the different digital marketing tools and visibility on social media also by attending different exhibitions,workshops,events would helping getting different orders.

  • What is included in the concept of sustainable fashion? What are some measures taken by leading brands towards sustainable fashion?

As far as sustainable fashion is concerned many of the companies on the big brands at taking measures to be a sustainable brand by inculcating creating sustainable component like use of organic materials for the products, recycling of the used products to make new out of  it,use of technology to create a visibility for the customers to track the whole process of making of the garment till retail.

  • Would you like to add/tell us some thing else apart from the questions asked above?

As per my opinion or an advice is that educational institutes must include or modify the curriculum depending upon the industry’s current requirement and add 90% of the activities based upon the processing systems of the industry.

Ultimately students will have the basic the or y knowledge and need to join industry where the hands on experience is very mandatory.

There is a need of change in the subjects of the fashion design education depending upon the needs of the industry also faculties to be trained  in the industry every six months to upgrade their knowledge by shaking hands with the apparel organisations.