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Interview of Ms Neena Khanna who is guiding students in the field of designing

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This is the time when we need to promote creativity of students instead of forcing them to fields which suppresses their skills. – Ms Neena Khanna

Even in today’s time, when a student acquires more than 90% marks, it is believed that he is suitable for either becoming a doctor or an engineer. Parents and often teachers forget about all the different fields that we have and where there is much demand. There are several fields which can offer an equivalent good life and career to the students. However, students are mostly unaware of those fields. There is one such field designing. The industry is quite vast and has a multitude of options for the students to use their creativity and develop a career. However, many students supress their skills in creativity and follow the suit of engineering or medical science to fulfil the aspirations of their parents. There is an unawareness among parents and many teachers as well that designing cannot earn you a settled career, however, contrary to the belief, several students enter to this field and take their career to great heights.

To understand this field, we could not find a better person than Ms Neena Khanna who has been in this field for more than 23 years and is now working hard to provide coaching to the students for the entrance examinations of institutions such as NID and NIFT which are premier designing institutes in the country. She has been running her own fashion institute named Academy of Fashion Studies (AFS). It was started in 1993 and since then has worked at different levels to help the students who are entering into the field of designing. Major branch of the institute is in Alaknanda, Delhi and it occasionally held classes in Gurgaon and Punjabi Bagh (Delhi).

Ms Neena Khanna has been working to promote the field of designing since more than 23years

Ms Neena Khanna has a noteworthy experience in the field of designing. She graduated from JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. She worked in an export house for around 3 years which gave him a great hands-on experience in designing. She has worked in fashion journalism as well. In 1986, she started writing for The Statesman which was followed by her articles on Times of India and Hindustan Times. She has met several fashion designers and attended fashion shows to cover them in journalism. In 1996, she started an in-house boutique named Riviera. This boutique worked really well but was closed after three years in order to focus on teaching and coaching in the field of designing.

There have been several events, fashion shows, seminars, workshops and art works by AFS Institute to promote creativity of students

The AFS institute conducts several art shows and art workshops for art students. Also, they have a dedicated gallery for the students who are interested in painting and art work. The institute has also published a book named What’s Your Style. The book inspires young designers to learn from famous designers on how to develop a personal style and design fabric according to the personality type. The institute actively engages in education fairs, exhibition fairs and seminars to educate students towards the field of designing and solve their hundreds of queries. In the last year, the institute has conducted workshops in GymKhana Club of Gurgoan and Faridabad and Jal Vayu Vihar Stadium of Noida. The workshops were huge success and the institute plans to conduct more such workshops in the future.  These workshops not only create awareness among students but also among faculty and principals of schools.

Contrary to common assumption, there are several fields in the designing industry which ranges from fashion designing to film designing

Ms Neena Khanna says that there are several courses in the field of designing such as media designer, film designing, strategic designing, fashion technology and it is really difficult to accept that many creative people suppress their talent and just follow the traditional career instead of doing what they can do the best. Most of the times, students don’t know about such courses and even in this modern age, parent do not support the students in taking up a field in a creative industry. However, she feels contended to know several students who have followed their passion. She remembers a story when a student from a small village of the country came to their institute who was inspired by one of his cousin who has done very good in this field. She says that, these days many students are coming forward from different parts of the country and taking their skill level to a professional level.

This is my dream to guide students from smaller and rural areas about courses in designing – Ms Neena Khanna

When asked about the current situation of awareness about designing courses in villages and smaller cities, she said that it is her dream to take this awareness to all the parts of the country. She says that several factors such as cost, event management and logistics have made it difficult for her to take it to the smaller cities but she is working hard to create awareness among all the students regarding courses in designing field. According to her, the most important thing that is required to follow a career in creative industry is passion. A student should be passionate enough to take his talent to the people. Also, parents and teachers should promote the students who like to draw, take pictures, do poetry, dance, drama and music. These traits should not be limited to their hobby instead they can make it their career as well if they are good into it.

There are several people in the field of designing who have inspired Ms Neena Khanna and whose work she admires. Students can take inspiration from them

In her journey, she has admired several people who are in different sectors of designing industry. There is Vibhor Sogani, who is a product designer and installs steel decorative items. He is an NID graduate. Another person is Alex Davis who also does installations and sculptures. Both of them have done really great work and can be an inspiration for young students. Among the fashion designers, she is much impressed by the work of Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani and Manish Arora. Also, she adds that Rimzim Dadu, a Pearl Academy graduate has done some extraordinary work with several experimentations. She also likes the work of Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna. Besides these, there are several footwear designers, graphic designers, furniture designers, jewellery designers, advertising specialists etc. who have done extremely well in their career.

She has been on a journey of guiding students towards the courses in designing and bringing out their creativity. wishes her the best for all her endeavours!

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