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A Day at Pearl…

A Day at Pearl…

Like the river water flows smoothly, like the tree grows unknowingly, likewise our time flowed in Pearl Academy. It felt like a gentle breeze came and flew away giving us some memorable moments.

Everything went so undisturbed and smoothly that it’s hard to comprehend. It all started on 22nd September 2016 at 9:41 am when we all were settled in the bus and after few minutes the journey to experience those “22 years of nurturing experience “at Pearl Academy began. It was 11:13 am when we reached the place, we all were looking forward to working with the faculties and students of Pearl and our hopes got high when we realized that the faculties there were very friendly and ingenious. They assisted us from the start to end. They made us realize that no matter what the circumstances are, they will help us out to accomplish our goal.

At a leisurely pace, time drifted and we were getting into it. Between all this, there was a time when one of the faculty indirectly stated, “You can dominate your goal only then when you know its weakness and power”. Those were the words which etched in my mind, maybe to all my comrades present there. As I mentioned earlier, all the moments, all the fun and everything was a gentle breeze, which came to lend us some enjoyable time but there is a balance between fun and sorrow. The same we experienced when we heard that this workshop was going to end by 4:00 pm.

And with the flow of time, it was 4:00 pm when everything came to pause and all the elevated fun crashed.
We all were regretting and were just left with the possibilities like if we had more time to work with the faculties, it would have been more fun.

But we know somethings can’t be changed.

After attending the whole event we settled in the bus by 4:23 pm and finally with a group photo made it a memorable day.

You can look out for next A Day at Pearl on Pearl’s website.

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Look, who dropped by to quiz us?

Rajdeep Sardesai has been a popular face of English news journalism in India and has been known for his gladiatorial style interviews with the most seasoned politicians of India! But in his new avatar, he is busy quizzing students across India in his new show – NewsWhiz!

Apart from quizzing Pearlites at the Delhi West campus, he motivated the students to work harder to do justice to all the privileges that they are getting as a “lucky generation” spoilt for choices!
Watch full interview below:

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Thinking of a career in Interior Decoration?

Thinking of a career in Interior Decoration?

People have always arranged the interiors of their houses, places of worship, work, learning or recreation. They have contemplated and made specific aesthetic choices in their interiors and considered the utilitarian aspect of the way they lived. This experience has been an integral part of human existence. Yet interior design is a very young discipline. It emerged as a profession in the late 19th century in England and the US and was initially referred to as interior decoration. These early decorators were women who tried to carve a professional life outside the house and who also tried to seek professional standards of interior decoration. As early pioneers of interior decoration they published books and articles on interior decoration, set up interior decoration practices and advocated women’s rights and design education. The first schools dedicated to interior decoration were set up in the first decade of the 20th century in Europe and in the US. Interior design education underwent significant changes in the 20th century and was increasingly professionalized especially from the 1970 onwards. The first undergraduate course in interior design was launched in India in the 1990s.

Interior spaces encompass a wide variety of types and categories and they virtually cover all aspects of life. They can range from private houses or flats– largely referred to as residential interiors -to different public or semipublic spaces such as railway stations, airports, trains, planes, yachts, hospitals, museums, theatres, schools, universities, shops, offices or places of worship; or they can be part of the hospitality sector – such as restaurants, cafes or hotels and much more. Interiors reflect aesthetic considerations and individual idiosyncratic tastes. They represent the taste and preferences of their owners, the skill of the craftspeople, who produced them and the various people who oversaw the work. However, underlying these seemingly individual choices in design schemes are specific cultural and socio-economic practices and values. This is why interior design needs to be concerned with the context of design and needs to go beyond purely aesthetic, technical or spatial aspects.

In the past interior design schemes or objects of utility could represent political decisions or regal power. Design schemes sought to create manifestations of the divine and earthly pleasures. They could also represent various levels of privacy as well as social hierarchies. Interiors mirrored the interests, passions, ambition, fads, latest scientific discoveries, archaeological excavations, military battles, understanding or misunderstanding of other cultures and countries. They reflected the dreams, aspirations, prejudice, gender, social class, creativity, imagination and worldviews.

To sum up: They were expressions of the identity of individuals and the Zeitgeist of an era. To this day interiors are an expression of who we are or who we want to be and interiors are influenced and shaped by the world we live in, our experience and aspirations. Professional interior design or decoration education helps us to go beyond matters of purely personal taste or dependence on consumer patterns dictated by economic considerations and marketing strategies. It constantly challenges us to go beyond the limitations of our own experience and exposure. Instead an education in interior decoration is an exciting journey of self-discovery. It is a continuous exploration as well as expansion of our experience and expertise by recognizing the hidden patterns and meaning of interior design schemes, materials and objects and the way other people live. A professional interior design and decoration education is about thorough knowledge and mastery of skills in addition to the understanding of and response to the cultural, social and psychological dimensions of the discipline. Ultimately this is one of the most rewarding professions to improve and make an impact on other people’s lives.

The one year part-time diploma offers you a glimpse of the discipline and allows you to grow professionally to tackle planning of interiors. At Pearl we encourage an open and diverse learning environment of academic excellence offering students many opportunities for personal growth and exposure to many different environments and interiors. Moreover, we hope to set design standards, encourage critical thinking and focus on the human condition to make our world a better place.

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“Creativity should be wearable” – Pankaj & Nidhi

“Creativity should be wearable” – Pankaj & Nidhi

As a part of its tie up with FDCI, Pearl Academy hosted its first Masterclass, with the husband wife designer duo – Pankaj & Nidhi. We had a little tete-a-tete with them, where they took us through their journey, reminiscing about their early days struggle. The duo also conducted an interactive activity with the students to test their creativity. The bunch of students were handed with mystery box with embellishments. The students were supposed to use these embellishments and white T-shirts to create their own design and style. The day was filled with sky-rocketing energies, splendid creativity and interaction that inspired many young and aspiring designers.

On asking about their journey and about Pearl Academy, this is what they had to say –

Watch out as we progress with this alliance and interact with other celebrated designers like Rina Singh Eka, Amit Aggarwal, Nida Mahmood Nida Mahmood and Anju Modi Clothing in coming months.

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Young India reflects, state of freedom in India after almost 7 decades

“At the stroke of today’s midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”
– Jawahar Lal Nehru (15th August 1947)

“Freedom”, what does Freedom actually mean?
As we are nearing our 69th yearly celebration of Indian independence, the School of Creative Business at Pearl Academy took the opportunity to paint the picture of freedom of today’s India, through creative installations. Before I proceed to dig deeper into some of these installations, I can safely highlight the fact that these installations are made by young India. The part of India that is shaping itself in today’s global scenario.

Even after almost seven decades of the so-called independence, is the country still truly free? Is the country still free of social stigmas and taboos? Freedom is when no one is victimized. Everyone is free to nurture opinions and thoughts. Freedom is when societal frame is free from coercion of religion, caste, gender or economic background, and most importantly freedom of speech and expression.

Freedom is a state of mind

Journey of women from being in a cage to true liberation.

Women are the derivation of any society. They are the nurturing source of our great nation at the base level but are they safe and liberated? Youth of this nation senses the demeaned condition of our country’s women. Our sorrows of Nirbhaya chapter in the capital city of this nation have barely lessened. The nation lost a daughter and its pride. A victimized woman has to go through levels of torture in order to get justice. Our independent India has its women tied in shackles of desolation and menace.

Surely our women are fighting for their liberation and brave men have joined this cause. Self-governing nation of India needs to be prompt towards elevating its code of law that can grant swift and adequate justice.

society freedom

Caste based riots and social stigmas are restricting our free nation.


Students also created installations depicting social stigma of honor killings that bounds the youth of this nation. Caste based divide that prevails in India, has recently jolted our society and the youth of this country after Rohit Vermula (a Dalit student of Hyderbad University) committed suicide because of the obstacles he was going through in caste-ridden India. Our country is known for unity in diversity and yet we find growls of caste and fresh wrecks of religious outfits distressing the very fabric of our heritage. People are ready to slay each other on basis of their religion and I am not referring to Jalliawala Bagh massacre when Britishers annihilated us in enslaved India but in today’s free India when we witness Mandal Commission, Delhi, Gujarat, Muzzafarnagar Riots. Our unity in diversity is at doubt and so is our sovereignty.

Freedom of love

Love is beyond the boundaries of gender and caste.


Our youth’s horizon of love has also expanded and they want liberation from the captivity of law in matters of love. Love is a freedom of expression and is an emotion that can only be felt. Love doesn’t have any room for classifications and ‘dos & donts’ on the basis of caste or gender. Love doesn’t know taboo and taboo can’t sustain love. Why is India so afraid of homosexuality, why are same gender marriages unacceptable? Whereas world in the west have progressed to it. Ancient India knew no such boundaries in love or intimacy. Our society’s hypocrisy regarding trans-genders in India is rather an accepted problem. We have a word for transwomen (male to female), and they have an eternal commission of blessing us in exchange of money. They are treated as less than second-class citizens.

In one such installation, students of Pearl Academy expressed intensely the state of freedom of LGBT community in India.

Pearl Academy is known for its revolutionary thinking and radical outlook. Students are taught to speak their minds and follow their instincts. School of Creative Business at Pearl Academy grooms its business students for the challenges of tomorrow. Students are sensitized towards trends of the business world like Sustainability and Impact Entrepreneurship. Nurturing Youth is the core philosophy at Pearl Academy. The youth of our nation today is sensitive towards environmental issues, societal waves, children welfare, and women empowerment. If young India wants to expand its wings then the boundaries of suppression will fade, cages of traditions would break, and the shackles of narrow thinking would break open. India is not only a nation but an idea, a philosophy, a lifestyle and so it can’t have boundaries. It’s bound to be free. Jai Hind.

By E Kukreja, Student of Professional Diploma in PR & Events

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When a picture won him a thousand words

When a picture won him a thousand words

While the whole lot of our generation is obsessed with traveling and travel photography, there are very few who can inspire many with their stories and experiences. Shekhar Rawat, a freelance photographer from Delhi, recently shared his adventures with the world through photographs that captured the nuances of his experience as well demonstrated the mastery of his skill.

Shekhar with his team climbed up the Gaumukh, the snout of the Gangotri Glacier, one of the most challenging climbing routes across the world. The trek wasn’t only literally challenging but also denoted the challenges and trials faced by Shekhar in his career. But the climb up at the top also became one of the top defining moments in Shekhar’s life. His enthusiasm for the story and pictures he made while on the trek soon transformed into the feeling of elation and achievement as the story found its place in the National Geographic Magazine. The story named as ‘Fleeting Beauty’ featured in the 50th-anniversary edition of National Geographic Travel India Magazine which came out in August and has already reached a wide audience.

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Ecstatic at the turn of the events, Shekhar said, “The Best Way to predict the future is to create it”. Reminiscing on his journey, Shekhar talks about his Professional Photography Diploma from Pearl Academy. He acknowledges the guidance of his teachers with a special mention of Rohit Dhingra who helped him in learning the precision and vision required by photographers.

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It’s raining Accolades for Gaurav Mandal

It’s raining Accolades for Gaurav Mandal

Gaurav Mandal, Faculty – Delhi NCR (East) Centre, has made us proud by winning 2 national awards from Indian Handloom Brand Contest by Ministry of Textiles Government of India. He bagged the first prize in Indian Men’s wear and Indo western women wear. Gaurav emerged winner amongst some serious competition, 1500 Designers who participated in 1st round out of which 450 were selected for 2nd round. Gaurav Mandal won ‘Best Design’ in both the categories.

Commenting on this achievement, Gaurav said “This is a tribute to our national treasure- handloom. The holistic look, including accessories have been rendered with handloom fabrics sourced from different states of India. With a titillate color palate of Black red and white, the look was created by combination of modern silhouettes with Indian classical drapes.
The journey of making this collection had been very enriching. Sourcing, travelling and connecting with artisans to infuse the core of this Indian handloom in myself. From beautiful weaver cluster of Mahesh wari, Madhya Pradesh to the very artistic tailor community in Pili hit district, Uttar Pradesh.”

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When Orange Label Project made me question my own Feminism

When Orange Label Project made me question my own Feminism

A lot has happened post panel discussion. I seem to be having a lot of conversations with myself trying to understand what is it that makes violence against women happen in the first place, how can we stop it?

Pearl Academy has extended its support to United Nations’ “Orange Label Project” by hosting a panel discussion, I was invited by school of fashion, styling and textiles to moderate the panel on “Fashion says NO to Violence against women” at Mumbai campus on 26th July 2016. I thought as a modern, progressive and educated woman I knew most about an act of violence and how to curb it. Somewhere at the back of my mind I was also in denial about the harsh realities as I believe I live in a secured environment where “something like this” will not happen to me, an illusion which most of us carry, this illusion was broken very soon for most of us when Pearl Academy alumna Pragya Prasun Singh’s (acid attack victim and founder of NGO Atijeevan) recorded interview was played for all of us to hear her story. Twelve days after her marriage on her way to campus interview, Pragya thought she had her life sorted. Her dreams came shattering down when a suitor ten years her senior whom she had said no to for marriage threw acid on her. He got ONLY FOUR YEARS of imprisonment, while Pragya is scarred for life!

Violence against women takes many forms, from domestic abuse to rape, sexual abuse and harmful cultural practices ranging from genital mutilation and honor crimes to premature marriage. It is not only the most widespread example of a human rights violation, but probably the least evident, going largely unpunished or like in Pragya’s case getting back to their normal life after minimum punishment. I wonder if increasing the duration of punishment to life time and help it become the toughest punishment will help reduce crime rate?

Audrey D’Mello, Project director at Majlis said,” every woman knows when she is subjected to violence; emotional, physical or psychological but she chooses to ignore or accept this violence for various reasons, in most cases the reasons are responsibility of children and no financial support”.

We as outsider viewing the plight of a violence victim normally sympathize with her as “poor weak woman”, weak woman? The one who musters all this courage to let violence happen to her because she has responsibility of a child? Her “kanyadaan” has been done by her parents with an advice that now you will leave your husband’s home only on “chaar kandha” (after death for last rites). The next question framed itself in my mind, “Is our social system capable of supporting women in such situations, if the system did support will there be more women saying no to these acts of violence”?

Ummul Ranalvi, a social activist whose initiative WWIN is working hard to curb violence against women, was on the panel too. She as founding member of the platform “Speak out on FGM” works especially in the area of female genital mutilation (FGM). Ummul aims at stopping this practice, still prevalent in certain communities but is surprised at the mindset of community’s complete denial of this practice as an act of violence. This revelation on her part ran a sharp shiver down my spine and popped the next question, “Is the act of violence against a woman and outcome or a process (spanning generations) by itself”?

The panel discussion which was originally scheduled to last one hour went on for next three hours with various facts about what is happening around us and why “violence against women is not only a challenge for us in India but all across the globe”. I sat there amazed at the knowledge that came pouring out, the passion filled speeches and the one mantra each of these women on the panel kept repeating, “You are the change maker”. In the audience we had our young students, girls and boys equally in awe of these five women; Audrey D’Mello-Project director-Majlis, Ummul Ranalvi, social activist and founding member-speak out on FGM, Indira Satyanarayan, social activist and a freelance journalist, Insia Dariwala; Award winning film-maker and reformist and also an activist working against FGM and Nicole D’Lima, young dynamic professional who through her current portfolio at EdelGive foundation focuses on identifying opportunities and connecting grant makers with recipient NGOs.
These powerful change makers had no inhibition about sharing their stories, realities, flaws in our societies and changes required but what stuck a deep chord was that each one believed that the change needs to start at an individual level and in homes-inside homes because that is where the first form of violence starts. Victims and culprits are a result of violence which usually starts at home. Audrey shared that 80% of the rapes are by someone in the family of the victim. My next questions, “As a society are we doing something right or something really wrong”?
Ms Indira Satyanarayan, the award winning journalist and our panelist brought to notice an astonishing hard fact; a study conducted by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that nearly 35 per cent of women across the globe have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. This instantly took my thoughts back to Nirbhaya incident which had shaken the world with horrific reality of rising sexual aggression among youth-On a December evening in 2012, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was beaten and brutally raped by five men and a youth in an off-duty bus in the Indian capital, New Delhi. The injuries she sustained were so severe that she succumbed to them 13 days later, setting off protests in India and around the world for ending the scourge of violence against women.
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) was among the many voices that called for immediate reform of the sexual harassment laws in India, where a study conducted by the agency and the Government showed that nearly 54 per cent of women and 69 per cent of men who see women getting harassed prefer not to get involved. (Reference: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=52775#.V5hhKfl97rc)
My question is, “why do we not prefer to get involved, is it the fear of being out casted from the community or the fear of some harm coming to us or is it total lack of trust in law, social systems and community support”?
Insia Dariwala, director of Candy Man and Cock-Tale stated that if a victim speaks up and shares her story many others too will be motivated to speak up and this helps form a strong chain and change starts, initially through small actions which later become movements. She shared her experience of how sharing of her own story as a victim of violence made her help women to come out and talk to her about their stories. Her movement is truly inspiring and I wonder if each of us could spend some time off from our busy digital lives to talk and share our stories, maybe we can make a more dependable support system.
Nicole D’Lima from EdelGive foundation added that from her experience of working with various NGO and women help group she has realized that most of the women especially in rural environment do not have the scope of sharing their plight with anyone due to the stigma of being blamed for the violence by family, elders and community.
I close on yet another question, “How do we map the intensity of violence, is there a clarity on the definition of violence and who decides what the violence is”?

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Swearing by the code Orange

Swearing by the code Orange

Keeping true to its values of maintaining Gender Equality and contributing towards ending all forms of violence against women, Pearl Academy has recently joined hands with the London College of Fashion. The two colleges have come together to commemorate the 20th anniversary United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UNTF) in 2016, under the umbrella of the ‘ORANGE LABEL’ project organized by University of Arts, London.

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women has proclaimed the 25th of each month as “Orange Day”, a day to raise awareness and take action to end violence against women and girls. As a bright and optimistic colour, orange represents a future free from violence against women and girls, for the UNiTE Campaign.
On 26th July, Pearl Academy hosted a series of panel discussions across its Campuses- Delhi West, Delhi East and Mumbai. The event was centred on bringing about the stories and anecdotes narrated by the panellists themselves and initiating an atmosphere of dialogue with the young minds. The discussion invited questions and observations from the audience who showed ample interest and concern towards the issue.

The series commenced with the Delhi West campus on 26th morning and witnessed attendance from the diverse set of panellists: Ms. Monica Dhawan- Head of India Vision Foundation, Ms. Jaya Bharti- Psychiatrist, Mr. Dhrupad Krwa- Co-Founder & CEO of HaikuJam, Ms. Megha Mishra- NGO Atijeevan Foundation, Ms. Nidhi Mittal- Designer, and Ms. Nina Sangma- Quint Journalist.

The panellists shared insights on the position of women vis-à-vis society. That how women themselves have been participating in their own exploitation by succumbing to the status quo set by their male counter parts. And hence, becoming the inevitable part of the hegemony persistent in the society for centuries. The discussion went on to highlight ‘Education’ as a source of emancipation, underlining the importance of developing the faculty of reasoning and training them with the skill sets so as to enable them to gain financial independence.
The discussion also touched upon the importance of art, literature, performing arts, etc in acting as a medium through which the victims or survivors of different types of violence could vent their fury and anxiety. That how artistic expressions can be used in channelize anger into creating creative communications that can be shared with the world.

The panel discussion culminated with the thought provoking insight by eminent panellist Megha Mishra, that the world needs little deeds of niceties in our everyday lives to curb many small and big acts of violence. Students also shared how fashion and design bring along responsibility and that art can be used to create awareness of equality in both men and women. And, that the onus lies firstly with the women (mothers) themselves to raise their sons properly and take the prime action to end violence against women and girls.

Stay tuned to read more on the panel discussions from Delhi East and Mumbai…

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How the beauty scene is changing in India

How the beauty scene is changing in India

India has a culture of beauty that spans ages and a large, upward moving population.
Indian consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about beauty and personal care.

According to research, India’s retail beauty and cosmetics industry is expected to grow to USD 2.68 billion by 2020. The industry is booming, thanks in part to the growing desire among both men and women to look good and stand out amongst the crowd.

From being satisfied with a black kohl pencil and a simple pink lipstick (or brown, red or maroon – take your pick), Indians have started to demand the whole package – with products ranging from a foundation with an inbuilt sunscreen to shampoos that not only cleanse the hair but also make it thicker.

Over the last few years, there has been an influx of many international cosmetic brands. This can be attributed to the growing demand of branded products amongst consumers due to aggressive marketing strategies employed by these players; and also to global influence. Companies are also trying to stay ahead of the game by launching new products that cater to specific consumer requirements, further fuelling the industry’s growth.

The above factors, along with the emergence of technology has given rise to a new breed of professionals – that of beauty, makeup and lifestyle bloggers. This has been made possible due to the explosion of social media – YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine etc. A small but growing tribe of ‘influencers’ is quick to buy the trending eyeliner or foundation and review it online, for the benefit of their followers. Brands seize this opportunity to reach out to prospective customers, potentially saving lakhs of their marketing moolah which is better spent elsewhere.

Brands are pulling out all stops to extract the most out of blogger tie-ups. From offering free special promotions (to the bloggers’ audience), to making certain coveted items on sale for limited periods to even offering a trip to Paris to a lucky few, different strategies are deployed to test an avenue that is still in its nascent stage in India.

An estimated ten to twelve million weddings take place in India every year. The estimated cost of a wedding could be anywhere between Rs. 5 lakhs to, well, there is no upper limit really. Several ancillary markets benefit from this boom – jewelry, apparels, décor and makeup.

As soon as a wedding date is fixed, finding a good makeup artist and hairstylist is one of the biggest priorities for a bride. After all, those pictures are going to stay for life! It is not unusual for established makeup artists to charge upwards of INR 20,000 to do hair and makeup for just one bridal event. More renowned names are said to charge INR 50,000 for the same offering. And customers are coming to them in droves.

At Pearl Academy, diploma courses are offered in Fashion Media Makeup and Styling & Grooming. The former program offers intensive conceptual and practical study for a career in fashion hair and make-up design, covering international hair and makeup trends. Employment opportunities can be found in advertising, television, cinema, events, fashion, weddings etc. The latter course is aimed at equipping learners with the ability to style themselves aesthetically, in order to meet the challenges of looking their best, whatever the occasion.

Click here to know more on Fashion Media MakeUp or Styling & Grooming

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