Belgaum girl crowned `Navy Queen'

BELGAUM DEC. 22. It was a proud moment for the Lenin Institute of Fashion Technology (LIFT) here when its student, Ms. Akshata Mascarenhas, was crowned ``Navy Queen-2001,'' on the eve of this year's Navy Ball at Karwar.

The 20-year-old student of Gogte College of Commerce is now aiming to become a model.

This was the second time in succession that the institute was given an opportunity by the Navy to organise the fashion show.

The male models presented themselves in ethnic collection while the female models wore thin embroidered dress decorated with tattoos. ``It had a dramatic effect on the audience which included a few foreigners,'' Mr. Nagaraj Honnali, founder of the institute, said. ``They showed keen interest in the institute. What we presented was a promising effort by an upcoming designer from Belgaum,'' Mr. Honnali said.

He said the world offered new opportunities for the younger generation for making a good career. ``There are new avenues even in a place such as Belgaum. But most people fail to recognise them. Fashion is no more a rage for new dress designs or hairstyle. One can build a successful career with a small investment,'' he said.

Mr. Nagarj, who hails from Kakati, the birth place of Kittur Rani Channamma, on the outskirts of Belgaum, took a course in fashion designing in Banglore. Finding that people of Belgaum were not fashion conscious, he dropped the plan to start a boutique and founded the Lenin Institute of Fashion Technology in 1998 with 12 students.

He has choreographed and organised fashion shows in the city. The institute offers courses such as diploma in fashion designing and fashion tailoring. Now, the institute has three batches of 12 students each. The institute is planning to move the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Delhi for affiliation. The most sought after is the modelling course. The institute offers short-term courses in model finishing and promotion for girls and boys.

``The response is making me to work for gaining national and international recognition for Belgaum models,'' Mr. Honnali said.