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In conversation with Shrishti Jaiswal: A Fashion Force with Global Reach

1. Introduction and Background:

   a. Can you share with us your journey into the fashion, design, and education industries?

From a young age, I've been drawn to creative expression. Sketching, painting, and experimenting with fashion design were my passions. Alongside my artistic pursuits, I was exposed to the business side of fashion through my parents. This unique blend of creative and business understanding fueled my desire to forge a unique career path.

I pursued fashion design, embracing the limitless possibilities of creativity within the fashion industry. However, upon graduation, I yearned for a role that transcended the limitations of designing specific garments. I envisioned a career that offered daily challenges and intellectual stimulation.

After a period of refining my skills, I landed my dream job as a faculty at a renowned design school in Bangalore. Surrounded by students and inspiring colleagues, I embarked on a journey of continuous learning, growth, and teaching, enriching both my own life and the lives of my students.

   b. How did your academic experience at Nottingham Trend University shape your creative vision and influence your career path?

My initial exposure to fashion was through childhood art classes, but pursuing a professional Fashion Design education was a revelation. The diverse subjects, internships, competitions, and constant learning thirst plunged me into the real world of fashion. Initially, attending fashion weeks felt like a major accomplishment, but gradually, I immersed myself deeper.

This journey opened my eyes to the various facets of the industry, from the distinction between shopping and market sourcing to the intricate differences between colouring and rendering or tailoring and draping/pattern making. As I delved into different categories, sustainability captured my heart. I made a conscious choice to dedicate my career to sensible and responsible practices within this domain.

2. Multifaceted Roles:

   a. As a Style Guru & Event Maestro, how do you approach planning and executing events, especially in international collaborations?

Navigating the world of international events requires careful strategy and understanding of cultural nuances. The Indian market operates with a unique dynamism compared to the more structured approach I encounter in Europe. While European professionalism and strict work schedules have their advantages, challenges arise due to time zone differences and a less flexible work culture.

Executing events across borders hinges on finding reliable collaborators, and the cost of establishing connections can be significant. European professionals are highly focused on both compensation and adhering to work-life boundaries. This contrasts with the more adaptable – and sometimes self-sacrificing – nature of work relationships commonly experienced in India.

3. Social Media and Marketing:

   a. How do you leverage your extensive network and communication expertise to build brands and connect businesses with their target audience?

  • Open mind & clear communication: Connect with others by understanding and respecting their perspectives.

  • Honesty & follow-through: Build trust by saying what you mean and doing what you say.

  • Versatility is king: Develop a diverse skill set to tackle challenges from different angles.

4. Operations and Sustainability:

   a. Your role as an Operations Whiz involves managing complex projects. How do you ensure smooth operations, especially in the dynamic field of fashion and design?

The engine driving smooth operations is a multifaceted one, fueled by experience, meticulous planning, and the synergy of a skilled team. However, the true catalyst lies in individual motivation and an unwavering dedication to excellence. When each member possesses the zest to not just complete tasks, but to do so exceptionally well, that's when operations truly flourish.

   b. Sustainability is a core value for you. Could you elaborate on your advocacy for sustainable practices in the fashion industry and how it influences your work?

Sustainability is about more than grand gestures – it's about conscious daily practices that ripple outwards. We need a radical shift in the fashion industry, starting with how we treat waste. Polluted waterways from untreated textile runoff are a global crisis demanding urgent solutions."

"My passion for sustainability is reflected in my choices, both big and small. I experiment with upcycled materials, like the woven button garment I created in college. I prioritize longevity in my own wardrobe, then donate pieces to extend their life. I prefer natural fibres, support local artisans, and value-conscious consumption – the Indian concept of 'Jugaad' is a guiding principle for creating a better world for future generations

5. Early Influences:

   a. In what ways do your roots in Delhi and your current base in Bangalore contribute to your creative process and inspirations?

My roots are in Delhi, a city known for its diverse and vibrant fashion culture. This instilled in me a deep appreciation for style, etiquette, and access to the best brands and markets. In contrast, Bangalore – a city rich in cultural heritage – has experienced a recent fashion boom. Its corporate environment has afforded me unique opportunities to design uniforms, ramp collections, and promotional pieces for major brands. Bangalore's rapid growth as a fashion-forward hub is inspiring – likely fueled by its melting pot of residents from across India.

6. Academic Contributions and Sustainable Practices:

   a. Your commitment to sustainability is reflected in your academic contributions. Could you share instances where your students have won awards for their sustainable practices?

I believe in fuelling student innovation that pushes the boundaries of sustainable design. One of my students transformed Agave, a common but often unused plant, into a stunning fashion collection. Others have revolutionized menswear by creating original fabrics from banana and bamboo fibres, earning recognition from the Indian government. Another student even drew inspiration from temple architecture while thoughtfully incorporating sustainable materials like abandoned faux leather and got featured in Bangalore’s renowned brand’s jewellery campaign.

   b. How do you promote a more responsible approach to fashion, advocating repair over replacement?

My personal style reflects my commitment to sustainability and resourcefulness. I believe in repeating outfits with creative styling to suit different occasions. Classic pieces form the foundation of my wardrobe, ensuring versatility and longevity. I even incorporate vintage finds, like my mother's stylish garments, drawing inspiration from the past without compromising on contemporary appeal. Through mindful wear and tear, I extend the life of my clothes – transitioning them from social events to work, then casual wear, before finding new homes through donation. This approach allows me to express my personal style while minimizing waste.

7. Passion and Dedication:

   a. What drives your passion and dedication in the fashion industry, and how do you inspire others with your self-motivated spirit?

While I may not have pursued traditional paths like medicine, engineering, or even space exploration, the creative field is where my true passion lies. It's not the glamour that attracts me; it's the intrinsic process of design, the interaction with people, and the challenge of solving problems with creativity.

This self-motivation, I believe, is partly innate and partly nurtured by strong family values. My father, a man of great discipline, instilled in me the importance of routine and mindful action.

Despite managing two jobs and household responsibilities, I find myself working over 18 hours daily. But it's not a burden; it's a testament to the joy I find in creative pursuits. Like many, I have separate professional and personal lives, but for me, events and content creation are more like hobbies, offering an additional outlet for creative expression, without ever feeling overwhelming.

   b. How do you approach continuous learning and growth, making yourself a valuable asset in various projects?

Experience and dedication form the foundation of my work. It's true, mistakes happen, but I'm committed to growth and finding the best solutions. Continuous learning fuels my ambition and drives me forward. The difference between myself and those who stagnate is simple - they settle for the status quo, while I constantly seek improvement and new challenges. It's this drive that has propelled my career forward

8. Global Perspective:

   a. Having a global reach, how do you navigate and adapt to diverse fashion landscapes and trends across different regions?

My early career in fashion taught me a valuable lesson about embracing diversity and individual identity. During a shoot in London, I encountered a model whose unique features couldn't be completely concealed through makeup. The agency's response, 'you must accept individual identity,' resonated deeply. It challenged me to move beyond traditional beauty standards and appreciate the uniqueness that defines each person."

"This experience sparked a fascination with cultural exchange and how we integrate various aspects of our identity. Recently, I was inspired by a Mexican chef who, upon arriving in India, embraced local culture by wearing Jhumkis alongside her uniform. Likewise, I often pick up a beret during visits to Paris, finding joy in embodying different cultural elements."

"Ultimately, embracing personal expression and celebrating diversity strengthens our global community. We can all coexist peacefully by respecting individual choices and fostering confidence in our unique identities.

9. Closing Thoughts:

   a. As a final reflection, what advice would you give to aspiring fashion entrepreneurs and designers looking to make an impact in the industry?

Don't be fooled by the runway's dazzling facade. The world of fashion is a tapestry woven with dedication, sacrifice, and a diverse blend of skills – from the visionary designer to the strategic marketer. While challenges are inevitable, they become stepping stones when fueled by genuine passion. Witnessing the countless individuals behind the scenes, pushing their limits and pouring their hearts into every creation, reminds me that success doesn't happen overnight. It requires investing time and energy to gain experience, honing your talents, and embracing the journey.

Remember, every struggle is a lesson, every hurdle a chance to learn and grow. And when your heart truly resonates with what you do, the burdens transform into a source of pride and satisfaction. So, if you're considering a career in fashion, approach it with open eyes and a determined spirit. The road may not be easy, but the rewards of creativity, self-expression, and contributing to a dynamic industry are truly empowering.

10. Future Plans:

   a. What are your plans and aspirations in the ever-evolving world of fashion, design, and education?

I don’t plan my year, I just go with the flow. 

you can follow me on this


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