The graduation ceremony of Nift’s 15th batch saw entrepreneur Gautam Chand Jain as the chief guest and designer J.J. Valaya as the guest of honour. On his maiden visit to the city, J.J. Valaya couldn’t help but reminisce about his own Nift (Delhi) days. “It’s a role reversal, I was one of them 20 years back,” said the designer.
Having landed in the city three hours prior to the ceremony on a sunny Thursday afternoon, Valaya divulges that “the city is on his radar” to open a store. “I have a lot of clients here and we have designed for the weddings of Vishnu Manchu and Allu Arjun. We are meeting some people in the evening to discuss this further. Hopefully, something will come up next season.”
His advice to youngsters, “When I was in Nift, I won a lot of awards both nationally and internationally. So after graduation I was very enthusiastic to start my commercial line. Initially, not a single piece was sold. So I always tell them not to rest on their laurels, college is a protected environment and the real world is quite different. The point is not to get disheartened.”
And the students who graduated will do well to heed the great designer’s advice. Model Natasha Ramchandran, who received the award for overall excellence, says, “During my four years of college I couldn’t take up a lot of work, but now that I have passed out, I’ll have more time. Also, I am planning to do my master’s.”
Mrunalini Kondapally, who received the award for best academic performance, is happy that college is over. “I am excited to start working too. I will be working with designer Anushree Reddy,” she said. Out of 156 students who graduated this year, 75 per cent of them got placed as assistant designers and managers with local and international brands.