When one feels stumped in life, you need a stroke of inspiration to be filled with invincible strength to bounce back or perhaps start afresh. This success story could be the thing you’ve been looking for.
From loathing fashion, to going on to become a rank student in NIFT and now in the midst of launching a fashion label of her own, that’s Deekshita Jain for you, curator of Questerra’s Fashion Intensive. She has paved a path for herself by working with unwavering belief and relentless perseverance. It is these attributes that went on to making her story a successful one. This read spirals out with events that went on to making her what she is.
Let’s take you through her journey with a Q&A and snippets of information to feed off her struggles and achievements.
Let’s start with the beginning of your design journey.
When did you know you want to be a designer?
Fashion runs in my family, literally. My mom’s been in the field since 25 years, from revamping or designing clothes to handling a boutique she’s done it all. 8 years ago Priyanka Bagrecha, my elder sister started a boutique of her own and within a span of 5 months after a lot of prodding Mom and Pia got the better of me and roped me into the boutique. Initially I was involved in the managerial aspects, but their creative drive was infectious and inspired me to design as well.
This eventually led me to enroll into NIFT. My first attempt at getting enrolled was met with rejection. I eventually went on to getting accepted the following year with a very high rank. Initially my work was met with criticism, and then it went on to being garnered with appreciation. From there on it was a multiplier effect and I began to realize that fashion is the field I want to be in. My support system (Pia & Mom) backed me at every step in the journey and I am ever so thankful to them, its because of their unshakable faith in me I got to where I am.
When did you decide to get into design full throttle?
It was in NIFT, the experience resulted in me recognizing my personality and style. It turned me into a character of my own.
How did you get into NIFT?
When I gave the NIFT exam the first time, I couldn’t clear it this led to failure symptoms. After this more than wanting to get in for interest in the subject, I wanted to crack it because I kept thinking to myself how could I fail. Driven with determination, I wanted to show everyone that I can do it and will do it. In the overall India ranking, I charted up to the 256th rank.
Can you tell us about your NIFT journey in a nutshell?
My NIFT course was paced out for 4 years and here’s what it looked like. The first year was more or less dealing with the introduction of Fashion and learning things like Photoshop and sketching all that’s vital for the presentation of a design. 2nd year was I got into knitwear design. The 3rd year one of my projects was met with a lot of appreciation, and a member from the panelist went on to tell me that I will make a mark for myself in this field. The 4th and final year bought with it my graduation project which was based on the theme of ‘wrapped in curiosity’. I presented my design process in the form of a question. The garments also posed a question, the skirt was converted into a pant and a pant was in turn converted into a top. Which in turn left one to question, how? The same fabric was used with different a varying thickness, that was the crux of the project. This project was felicitated with best design collection award, most innovative collection award and most creative collection award.
My journey in NIFT saw many accomplishments and achievements. I further went on to win more awards meritorious student award and best academic performance award. One of the jury members, a senior designer of Vero Moda and renowned designer Ajay Kumar offered me a job on the spot. Ajay Kumar also went on to tell me that if relentlessly pursue fashion the way I have been, in the next 5-10 years he see’s me setting a benchmark in the industry.
What is the one thing that you will take back from your NIFT journey?
The jury assessments at NIFT taught me that it is not just the end product that makes all the difference. It is the journey to the product the ideation, the design process and the formulation of the concept. It is these criteria which go on to show how original you are as a designer. In the course of the Intensive I want travelers on board to return back and be fearlessly original.
This has become a life skill for me and it is something I live by till date. Personally I also feel, if your personality reflects in the design you have created there’s nothing like it.
How important is travel for a fashion designer?
Travel helps one open up to the varied perspectives life has to offer and also aids in offloading excess baggage. Being interested in fashion, while travelling I observe everything in that light. London got me recording nuggets of information in my notebook all through the journey. This in turn had me returning back with truckloads of inspiration for my collection.
Travelling solo gives room for interacting with different kinds of people, this goes on to making you more self- confident and boosts your communication skills. You show them your work, it impresses them and this reaffirms your belief in you. I did have a chance encounter with a 63 year old, during my pattern making course in London, having completed her MBA at 59 she constantly travels in a quest to learn new things. Such interactions, makes you aware of the different things you can learn and apply.
Can you tell me a little about your London experience?
I always knew that post my NIFT degree I would not go ahead to do my masters. There was one are of interest that I got hooked onto in my fourth year at NIFT, pattern construction. Though I was not particularly good at the subject, I was keen to master it. Many students would go on to say I hate pattern making but I knew it’s vital to understand the subject completely. Because no matter how good the idea is to execute it and to construct it you have to be adept at pattern making.
Today I am proud to say that I am confident to go about pattern construction of any type and any level.
What do you think about Questerra’s initiative with the Fashion Intensive?
Questerra’s Intensive brings with it travel to many places, and your learning with a bunch of diverse people who belong to the same profession as you. All the communication that transpires between the travelers is in a way going to help them learn something new.
The intensive will make you better equipped to try things differently that will help better your design journey.
Fashion professionals who are looking to learn from artisans or network with industry experts and clear doubts in interactions with them, this is an excellent opportunity for them.
I am also looking to take back inspiration in the course of this journey from the travelers, the places and from the industry experts.
What made you sign up as a curator for Questerra’s Fashion Intensive?
Educating comes to me naturally, it is something I love doing. In the process of setting up my brand with my sister, there were times I used to educate her on the few things that I had acquired during my degree at NIFT. As a curator of the Fashion Intensive, I want to impart the knowledge to the creators in a way that they may go back home and actually be able to execute the things learnt with confidence and ease.
In the screening process many of the applicants I spoke to were anxious. A few of them went on tell me I don’t know how to sketch, or I don’t have the basic foundations. I assured them, that is not a problem. I will teach you everything from scratch. You will return back knowing more than what you did and on returning back the knowledge acquired will make you want to learn more. The other reason that had me sign up as a curator is the networking that comes along the journey.
Diamond the hardest material in the world. Have you ever wondered how those clean cut and sparkly pieces come into existence? The making of a diamond involves planning, sawing, bruting polishing and inspection after which one can go on to appreciate the diamond in its usable form. Deekshita in her fashion story, encountered difficulties which only went on to strengthen her resolve, thus making her shine like a diamond in her own right. When in challenging situations, consider it as a phase that will help refining your talent.
Questerra is extremely pleased to have her as ‘Curator of the Fashion Intensive.” Her fashion journey is an excellent one to learn from. So what are you waiting for? The Fashion Intensive is broken up into 4 series. At the moment 1 is on the road, there are 3 more that you could apply for. You haven’t missed the bus just yet. Learning from her body of knowledge will be an incredible experience to take back for your professional journey.
Deekshita Jain, team Questerra wishes you all the success at the launch of your label PhD. Stay tuned, the next post will take you through the journey of Phd.
You can follow Deekshita Jain here.