If there is one institute in a quiet but resolute dialogue with the idea of India, it is the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. It was founded as a post-Independence modernist institution in 1961, with a Nehruvian vision to respond with responsible design strategies to social, economic and cultural changes all around. Today, both its vim and vulnerability lie in its stoic fixation with the old socialist model. Apparel and textile design may be NID’s only definitive extensions to fashion education, yet an NID product can never be ‘just a fashion designer’.
If a NIFT graduate is made from flashy lycra, an NID graduate is moulded from baked Indian mud. “It’s about a holistic understanding with an inside-out approach,” says David Abraham, of the label Abraham & Thakore, an NID alumnus. Fashion, believes Abraham, can only be created and lived through an interaction with music, cinema, social realities and cultural diffusion.