It was twenty years ago, when a young girl from Delhi, married into a family of professionals of Jaipur, Ms Archana Surana, ventured into making a business out of fashion and design education.
It was in line with her professional education – a degree in fashion designing from Delhi and a course in Contour Design from De Montfort University Leicester, UK – she started Arch Institute of Design from three-roomed rented premises, in the year 2000.
Today, the institute has grown into a full-fledged Arch College of Design and Business, with undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses and a centre for research, with many national and international collaborations. Its sprawling 60,000 sq. ft campus at Malviya Nagar in Jaipur has state-of-the-art labs and highly qualified faculty and hosts students from all over India.
Its hundreds of students have etched successes in the fashion and design arenas in corporations across the globe.
For the Founder and Director of Arch College of Design and Business, her early days in Jaipur were spent teaching at local colleges, till the entrepreneurial bug bit her. Friends and well-wishers donated some equipment, she rented three rooms and started Arch Institute of Design.
She knew she would live her dream to create an institute that will define design education and turn graduates into highly capable designers and fashion professionals. In 2006, her dream turned into reality when her institute moved into its own campus.
“We strive to provide a world-class educational experience and have tied-up with numerous international universities for summer programs, progressions, and exchange programs,” Ms Archana Surana told Tricity Scoop.
After setting high standards in design education – Fashion Design, Jewellery Design, Interior Design, Product Design, Graphic Design – “now we are working on taking design education to the masses. Ten years ago, I nurtured a vision that I want to take design education to the masses. And now it is just the right time where design thinking has become so critical for India, our youth, and the country, at the level of the government, companies, within the education sector, both at the 12th level and the higher education level,” she said.
“I feel most of our graduates, be it engineering, or management are unemployed because they lack critical and strategic thinking. And I think design thinking is a much-evolved way of doing something, it makes the whole outcome very thoughtful and much sustainable,” she said adding, “now, my vision is to take design education to the masses.”
She is now holding conferences with school principals, and to enthuse them into building design thinking and design capabilities among students. “Students can start understanding design and the process of design which can actually help them in whatever career they take up later on in their lives,” Ms Archana Surana said.
“We have already started courses that are less priced that more and more people can take up. We have with us richly experienced design practitioners and industry experts on the faculty, she said.
“I am also the sitting dean of Fashion Design faculty of the Rajasthan ILD Skills University, India’s first skill development university, and over the last four years, I have initiated four-year undergraduate degree programmes with the Rajasthan University and vocational level skill-oriented programmes with the Rajasthan ILD Skills University.
“We at Arch have been able to bring this very special contribution in design education to Rajasthan education, which was very much needed, as our art culture, our craft culture, our unorganized sector is poised for growth with proper guidance. Our small cottage industry can flourish in a big way. But they need design and business interventions,” she said.
“We have been able to spread the design education within the state with our lifestyle design programmes – fashion design, jewellery design, product design, interior design, and graphic design, with the University of Rajasthan and Rajasthan ILD Skills University,” she said.
With significant contributions in the space of youth and women empowerment, Ms Archana Surana has established strong pathways in Design Education, as well as Mentoring, through the Women Mentors Forum founded by her. A widely travelled and noted speaker, she sits on various national and international forums of Academia and Industry.
She is the Chairperson for Fashion Colloquia 2020 an International Research colloquium hosted and organized by ARCH College of Design & Business in Jaipur from 26-30th January 2020. She is a Vital Voices Lead Fellow & a YUVA ICON awardee and was presented with the award by President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.