Students of fashion institutes are revelling in the rising popularity of city designers.

Hyderabad is on every fashionista’s lips these days. Much of it has to do with city’s young designers making headway in 2013. From representing the city at different fashion weeks and creating a line that caught everybody’s eye, these designers have added the much needed oomph factor to Hyderabad’s fashion calendar. They have also created a platform for aspiring fashion designers to think out of the box, roll out their own label and make a smart entry in the fashion circuit.

Every year a large number of aspiring fashion designers graduate from different fashion design institutes spread across Hyderabad. While a few of them are absorbed by design houses in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad, others go abroad to study and expand their horizons. This year, the students have their fashion pulse on exploring different streams. “We could work with textiles, dyeing, fashion merchandise, fashion marketing or launch our own boutiques,” points out Vasanta, a student at Hamstech Institute of Fashion and Interior Designing. Her classmate Sultan Baig can hardly contain his excitement. He recently worked as a stylist for a photo shoot for ace photographer Arvind Chenji. “Hyderabadis’ sense of style has to improve; that’s where budding stylists like us can be of help,” he smiles.

National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) at Madhapur is buzzing with activity. The students have just returned after a holiday break and are getting ready for the annual three-day mela ‘Reflections 2014’, starting on January 9. Falguni Gaidhane, a final year student feels Hyderabad scores high on ethnicity. “Hyderabad has ethnic market and there is scope for designers to make custom-made pattu saris, half-saris or pattu lehengas,” she says. Her friend Ashutosh Kumar chips in, “There is a focus on mass production in Hyderabad. If one wants to work in ethnic or bridal wear… the options are good but for young designers like me who are interested in couture, the scope is limited.” However, the students agree that the recent fashion weeks held in Hyderabad have upped the fashion quotient. “The fashion shows have been a nice platform to showcase different collections. The city’s fashion scene promises to be vibrant and in another two years Hyderabad will be an active fashion destination that others to follow,” states Gouri, a student.

The first thing that strikes you at Lakhotia Fashion Institute is a mannequin standing pretty at the entrance. The yet to be complete ensemble is unique — it is being made with dried coconut shells, bottle cups, cable wires, magnets, computer discs and chips. The students are getting their projects ready for a carnival to be held during the last week of January. Basha and his friends Sandhya and Nithya are working on the costumes for a Telugu movie. “We are creating a dress for the heroine’s introduction scene,” says Basha. His friend Raheema Begum rates Hyderabad as the best place for beginners in fashion. “Designers like Neelam Ashley studied abroad and have set up their base here. I want to follow suit and start a boutique in Banjara Hills,” she says. Fashion is not just limited to metros, says Santosh Kumar. “My father is a designer in my home town Siddipet and women love wearing designer saris there. The notion that only urban youth are fashionable is not true. Even people from rural areas are becoming stylish in their own way,” he says.

The burgeoning fashion industry has motivated youngsters to change gears. Karen Wolfe worked in a corporate sector before joining the fashion institute. “I am a creative person and didn’t want to be stuck in a monotonous job,” she says. For her, fashion is about being fresh and sparkling with colours. “Hyderabad can be a little more stylish in cuts, designs, colour combinations and even haircuts. A majority of women wear Indian prints and only youngsters experiment with their clothes. Being fashionable doesn’t mean that one needs to wear vulgar clothes. A little more style and spunk in what we wear will definitely add to our persona,” she states.

The budding fashion students promise to make a mark with their creativity. Here’s looking forward to a fashionable year.