27 April 2022

Threading together sustainable fashion and business in India

Alumni Stories

Sustainable fashion was the focus of a study tour to India for a lucky group of Kiwi students from Ara Institute of Canterbury and Massey University.

Eight business students from Ara Institute of Canterbury and 20 fashion, textile and business students from Massey University spent a four to six week study tour in India, thanks to a Prime Minister's Scholarship for Asia (PMSA). The PMSA programme is funded by the New Zealand Government and encourages New Zealanders to travel into Asia and experience the benefits of international education.

John Laxon, Education New Zealand’s Regional Director – South East Asia and Middle East, said the PMSA reinforces the New Zealand Government’s commitment to India and our education relationship.

“These scholarships build on New Zealand’s status as a top destination for Indian students, creating partnerships with prestigious Indian education institutions and between the future leaders of both countries.”

Ara cohort with faculty from Jaipuria Institute and Acting High Commissioner Suzannah Jessep (centre in blue)

As part of the PMSA programme, eight of Ara’s business school scholars spent six weeks attending a series of classroom lectures at Jaipuria Institute of Management in Noida and KCT Business School in Coimbatore to develop a better understanding of the business environment in India. This focused on aspects like entrepreneurship and the Indian rural economy. While in India, they also visited local business establishments including dairies, textile mills and start-ups.

Education New Zealand (ENZ) hosted the Ara students at the New Zealand High Commission for an interactive session about New Zealand’s relationship with India, and the engagement opportunities available. The session was chaired by Acting High Commissioner Suzannah Jessep, and was also attended by faculty members from Jaipuria and Ara Institute.

Runway on the High Commission lawn

Following this, ENZ also hosted a project presentation at the New Zealand High Commission called ‘Closing the Loop’ for the Massey awardees, based on India’s circular economy strategy to phase out land filling of recyclable materials by 2025.

The Massey students teamed up with 20 creative arts students from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi, to produce an outfit made from sustainable and organic materials sourced in India.

Students worked in groups mixing their textile, fashion and business talents, and even created a sustainable business plan to accompany their outfits. The High Commission lawns were then transformed into a makeshift runway for the students to showcase their garments to the senior faculty members from Massey and NIFT in attendance. 

Sue Prescott, Senior Lecturer and Major Coordinator for Fashion Design at Massey University said the event highlighted the potential for fashion to address real world issues such as over-consumption, global warming and ethical production processes.

“Through studies in fashion supply chain, traditional fashion industry methods are challenged, and team design and production projects like this help lead to innovative and sustainable thinking.”

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