Co-founder and Director
LISAA School of Design
Today’s student is better at multitasking
Co-founder and Director, LISAA School of Design, Avi Keswani was awarded the Nirbhaya award in 2014 and Bharat Gaurav Samman award for her work and contribution in the field of education. She is also invited as a motivational speaker cum mentor at reputed institutions such as IIM Bangalore, FICCI etc. In an interview with Kiran Sahija, Keswani talks about her journey as well as the virtual and meta world and its pros and cons.
Fibre2Fashion: How would you describe the journey that led to the establishment of LISAA School of Design and the CREO Valley group?
The journey was a search for a calling. I was always interested in both arts and science. Coming from a very academically oriented family, it goes without saying that the family’s preference was that I pursue science. Both me and my husband studied abroad and understood the difference in how education is pursued globally. After my MBA, I worked for a California-based startup for a while and then took a break to be with kids. That’ when I got a chance to rekindle my passion towards arts and culture… and from there the journey of LISAA and CREO Valley group began.
Fibre2Fashion: Since you come from an IT education background, what challenges did you encounter developing a design-based institute?
Post my engineering I also pursued an MBA from California. What I loved about getting my MBA was that the principles of management were quite generic and had a 360-degree scope for application. Most of our classroom education material was primarily research paper and discussions. So, the learning was much more wholesome.
Fibre2Fashion: What was the motive behind launching a France-based school in India?
After studying in the US, my husband and I realised the relevance and value of an international degree. We also knew that Indian students had the talent and aptitude for arts and design. Our belief was that if we could bring in the right international setup, curriculum and tools, we could help our students explore their true potential in design.
Fibre2Fashion: These days, we see a switch towards Augmented and Virtual Reality. What is your take on it?
The use of AR and VR is quite prevalent in design. Building renders and walk-throughs for customers have been in use for over a decade now. Recently I saw AR being used to show the inner workings of a wall, including the formwork, construction joints etc. Such technology makes QA much easier. You might have heard of VR-based fashion shows and AR trial rooms. Like any technology, the design will definitely be enriched by the use of AR and VR. Wastage of fabric can be avoided by using technology, and custom fits also become truly possible. In urban jungles, AR-VR can be used to destress by experiencing a forest from your living room. So, I definitely see the potential in the use of AR-VR. In fact, currently, I am pursuing my research on the use of AR-VR in the field of ‘sustainable fashion’.
Fibre2Fashion: According to you, what are the pros and cons of ‘meta’ world?
COVID-19 really brought us close to understanding the true benefits of metaverse. In their 2022 report, Gartner predicts that 25 per cent of people will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse by 2026. The increasing amount of time global citizens are spending in metaverse has encouraged brands such as Gucci and Adidas to launch their stores in the metaverse. One of the bags by Gucci sold for over $1500 in the metaverse, which is more than the price of the same bag in real life.
Fibre2Fashion: Do you think that virtual fashion shows will one day completely be able to replace live fashion runway shows in India?
As mentioned above the role of haptic experiences is huge in fashion, which is hard to replicate in a virtual environment. Also, when it comes to access to AR-VR devices, the cost of technology is also something one must consider, while we are considering how soon would AR-VR experiences be available to the masses in the luxury of their homes. As and when they become available, I doubt that virtual fashion shows can completely replace live fashion runway shows as it takes away largely the thrill and experience of attending fashion shows.
Fibre2Fashion: How can your institute contribute towards the trend of augmented reality? Is it possible to introduce any specialised courses?
Our Graphic Design students are exposed to AR-VR in third and final years. They have designed AR-based visiting cards and apps that turn surroundings into surrealist art. We have plans to introduce few modules of AR to our Interior Design and Fashion Design students as well.
Fibre2Fashion: How would you express the change in behaviour, perception and imagination of graduates of current time as compared to the past times?
The global melting pot that was anticipated is very much here. In many ways than one, we live in a global village. Careers that would have seemed far-fetched are now accessible to the masses. Dearth of opportunities is a thing of the past. Today, more than ever, there is a need for students to be focused.
Fibre2Fashion: With so many fashion schools spread across the country, what makes your institution stand out?
Apart from the state-of-the-art campus in the heart of Bangalore city, eclectic blend of full-time and part-time teachers with varied experience in the industry, a student who enrolls at LISAA not only gets a French Diploma but also a degree from Bangalore City University. The sense of community and belonging along with the emphasis on hard work are unique qualities that we nurture here at LISAA. Unlike other schools, we focus immensely on hand skills, which means students are encouraged to stitch their own collection, similarly in Interior and Graphic too, we make sure that students in the first year and beyond spend enough time sketching, creating hand-stitched garments, and thinking about the world from a glocal perspective (global standards with local approach). Smaller batch sizes mean individual attention to every student’s unique talent and career trajectory. Our students come from different states and countries as LISAA School of Design brings the essence of the French Design Curriculum and makes it accessible at a convenient location in the heart of Bangalore.
Fibre2Fashion: What is the vision for LISAA for the forthcoming years? Any expansion plans?
The vision is to expand to a bigger campus with more space, both indoor and outdoor. As a design school, one pre-requisite is to always stay relevant and ever engaging. So, the process of exploring new concepts, new ideas and staying a few steps ahead or at par with the industry is always something we aim for... so, the expansion for a design school is an everyday process... conceptual expansion is a must!