Saturday, December 13, 2008

A.K.G. Nair

India should pitch for leadership in education, given the traditional strengths we have. At the moment, we are not in the leadership place. There is a great potential to showcase our crafts and other skills; sadly these are vanishing elsewhere but fortunately India still has these. And this is relevant in the fashion space, too. We need people who believe in our own strengths and contemporarise the same for today's world.

A.K.G. Nair, Group Director, Pearl Academy of Fashion

December 13, 1 pm



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Murali said...

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A.K.G.Nair is currently the Executive Director of the Pearl Academy of Fashion. He has been associated with the Fashion education in India since its early stages as he played key roles in the establishment of two well known institutes for the apparel sector in India namely the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and the Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF), New Delhi.

Under his leadership, the Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF) has established close alliance with world’s highly acclaimed international institutions such as Nottingham Trent University, UK; German Retail University, LDT-Nagold; the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Amsterdam Fashion Institute; and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia.

Mr Nair has been instrumental in establishing mutually beneficial partnerships with these reputed industry-oriented international institutes. Such associations have tremendously benefited students in terms of international exposure through student exchange programmes and scholarships for further studies.

He has contributed immensely for the cause of the Indian fashion industry particularly in the area of human resource development.

Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF) has now won an important position among world’s highly recognised fashion institutes, with invitation from International Federation of Fashion Technology Institute (IFFTI) to join as its member. IFFTI is a prestigious association of leading Fashion Institutes from all over the world and until recently only NIFT, New Delhi and NID, Ahmedabad were the two institutes as members from India. The membership is awarded after screening the consistent performance of these institutes and their sustained contribution to the world of Fashion over a period of several years. Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF) has thus emerged as a truly international repute under Mr Nair’s dynamic leadership.

Over the years, Mr Nair has spearheaded Academy’s drive to serve the industry through professional services.
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Mr. A.K.G Nair, Group Director, Pearl Academy of Fashion has been conferred honorary degree of Doctor of Design by Nottingham Trent University, at a ceremony held on 29th November 2008. Mr. Nair is the first person in the Indian Fashion Industry to receive such an honor.

Mr. Nair is one of the founding members of the prestigious fashion design institute in India- National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and is also the founding Director of India's premiere design institute in the private sector – Pearl Academy of Fashion.
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Citation Write-Up

A.K.G Nair is Group Director of India's premiere design institute – Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF). PAF has been steered by Nair's vision to emerge as a center of excellence in India’s fashion education scenario.

Born in Kerala (India) also known as ‘God’s own Country,’ A K G Nair completed his Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He started his career with the Ministry of Shipping & Transport, Government of India in 1970. Nair's journey to the fashion world is like a Gulliver’s tale. His plunge into fashion began after leaving a flourishing career as a mercantile marine officer and a much coveted fellowship of the Narottam Morarjee Institute of Shipping, Mumbai.

He was invited to join as a key member of the core team that was constituted to set up the National Institute of Fashion Technology under the aegis of the Government of India in 1987. This heralded his journey into the world of fashion and education and there was no looking back.

Nair's experience at NIFT laid the foundations for his subsequent career as the founding director of India’s premiere design institute in the private sector – Pearl Academy of Fashion.

One of the lasting contributions of Nair during his tenure as Chief Projects Officer of NIFT was in successfully bidding an United Nation Development Programme assisted project to the tune of US $ 5 million which he also subsequently implemented. This project helped NIFT in building and diversifying into textile, knits and leather garment design and technology. It also brought in extensive interaction and linkage with international institutions through cross-cultural exchanges, faculty/student joint research projects, overseas assignments and thus opened up a whole new vista of opportunities.

His successful tenure at NIFT caught the attention of many an industry players who were willing to contribute for the development of the key component of human resource for this burgeoning industry. He was invited by a leading garment export house - House of Pearl Fashion Limited – to conceptualize, set up and develop the Pearl Academy of Fashion in 1993.

Starting with limited infrastructure, 1 undergraduate programme, 4 faculty members and 47 students, the academy’s journey has been a saga of consistent growth not only in terms of numbers but also in establishing systems, procedures, and benchmarking against international standards. It is a matter of great pride that today under the dynamic leadership and dedication of a committed team, the Academy is now ranked as the number one private fashion school in the country with branches in Delhi, Jaipur, Chennai and Dhaka (Bangladesh) besides franchised centres in Ludhiana, and Sharjah (UAE). Growing from strength to strength, Pearl Academy has more than 1800 students on its roll now.

Credited with establishing all the six PAF branches, Nair has been instrumental in developing transparent and sustainable systems for managing academic administration for a gamut of Undergraduate/Post Graduate programmes validated by the Nottingham Trent University (NTU), UK besides ongoing training for the industry and professionals. Under his leadership, PAF pioneered to launch ‘open and distanced, technology augmented learning’ model for fashion education in India in association with world’s largest Open University – the Indira Gandhi National Open University.

Despite restrictive policies by government and state authorities with regard to private educators which often resulted in lack of level playing field, Nair followed his clear vision to position Pearl Academy of Fashion as a premier design institute of the country. India’s leading national daily – The Hindustan Times – has ranked the Academy among the top three institutes in India for fashion design & related education.

His eminent reputation in the industry is underscored by many honorary positions he was invited to hold such as: Chairman of the Mentor Advisory Panel of the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust, a Trust under the Confederation of Indian Industries; Secretary of the North India Section of the Textile Institute, Manchester; Member of the Board of the National Center for Design and Product Development (NCDPD); Member of the Advisory Board of the Images, a well known fashion magazine in India; Member of the Fashion Design Council of India; Member of the Joint Advisory Group of Australian Wool Innovation; Member of the Management Committee, Industrial Training Institute, New Delhi, and Chairman, Indian National Office, Textile Institute Manchester, UK. He also played a key role to set up the Indian Retail School in New Delhi.

His contributions in the growth and development of the Indian fashion industry are indeed invaluable. Recognizing his efforts, he was nominated as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London and the Textile Institute, Manchester.

Nair's efforts to secure recognition for PAF at national and international levels have been a hard-won achievement. His persistence grabbed a place for the Pearl Academy of Fashion in the prestigious International Foundation for Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI). Five years on, PAF is one of the 2 executive committee members elected from Asia region.

The contributions of Nair to the fashion fraternity as a whole and to National Institute of Fashion Technology and the Pearl Academy of Fashion in particular, through his unrelenting efforts in setting up India’s two premiere design institutes can hardly be over-stated.

In one line – NIFT and Pearl Academy of Fashion have changed the course of fashion education in India; and Azhakath Kodoli Gopalan Nair is the harbinger of this change.
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