Iqbal Hamid Trust

Internship Program for PIFD Students

The Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design (PIFD) is a public sector degree awarding institute, specializing in fashion design in textiles, leather, gems & jewelry and furniture. It is the only institute that is offering a four year degree program in Leather Accessories and Footwear. As part of their degree requirement, students have to undertake a 4-6 week mandatory internship (during their third year) at a manufacturing concern so that they can get practical experience. The students who are enrolled in the leather accessories and footwear program normally work at footwear factories around Lahore. PLCIP, with the interaction with the industry, found that the PIFD students find it difficult to adjust in the practical working environment. Similarly, industry finds it difficult to identify the role of internees in the factory. In this background, PLCIP proposed an internship program aiming at filling this gap between academia and industry, by mentoring the process.
Internship Purpose
The purpose of the proposed internship program was to bridge the gap between the industry and students of PIFD. The idea was to structure the program in a way that it is easier for the industry and the students to understand their respective strengths and roles. The designed program will focus on designing 3 half of shoes by each student with the help of the international design consultant. At the end of the program the industry will have the option of showcasing these designs as part of their next collection at international fairs.
For this purpose, PLCIP engaged Ms. Giovanna Villani, who is an international footwear and accessories designer, who was also engaged as the master trainer for updating PIFD curriculum and ToT program. Her role in the internship program is to design and manage the Internship program. Following methodology was adopted in the internship program: Choosing suitable companies for the program in regards with ability and willingness to support the program. Form a balanced group student group of 3-5 interns per factory. Follow their progress closely and monitor their work at respective factories. Help the students develop communication skills and to guide them in expressing their thoughts in regards with product development and design. To guide students in getting the work done for sampling from the production staff.
PLCIP choose two partner firms i.e. Firhaj Footwear Private Limited and Shafi Lifestyle Private Limited for the internship program. PLCIP team and Ms. Giovanna prepared these students via emails and group discussion two weeks prior to the beginning of internship to initiate the background work, whereby the students started to research project themes and to start working as a group. 6 students were divided into 2 groups of three, each composed of two female and one male. Each group was given a separate room in their respective factories, where students could organize their work, their mood boards and communication on their computers and also practice designing on lasts and pattern making. The consultant was present for 4 hours daily in each factory for the first one week. During this time, the consultant started each individual student with their own project and development, mood boards, material choices and colors. Communicated with company representative and supported the students to establish a way to collaborate with the company. Following are the steps wise implementation of the program:
Step 1- Introduction to the production process:
Students spent 1-2 working days in each of the manufacturing departments (Cutting, stitching, lasting and mounting, soles, finishing and boxing) observing and where possible helping out with very simple tasks. During this time they learnt about different specific constructions (balerina, derby etc.) produced within the factory
Step 2- Sample Room
In the following 2 weeks students devoted their time in practicing pattern design, cutting and mounting in the sample room. Following activities were done by the interns during this time: Using the factory existing models as starting point, acquiring experience at making modifications and working on variations. Experiment same models with different leathers and different linings to understand the effect of material on model. If feasible with different bottoms
Step 3 – Innovative Design Project
Last two weeks were devoted to a group project involving new design. The students were asked to achieve 3 half pair samples of their own design which merges one of the Pakistani cultural traditions with modern footwear and close to factory’s product portfolio. This project is not geared towards generating commercial sales but towards a “show-case” collection to attract attention from international buyers.
Step 4- Design Improvement in existing product line.
During the course of the internship, the main factory products were studied, discussed and appraised together with the company designers and foreign consultant. Students devoted their time to update model designs of 1-3 of the factory‘s key products.
The primary outcome of the internship program was 3 half pair design per student (18 in total) developed under supervision of international design expert and in consultation with the industry. The feedback from the industry in regards with the program was very encouraging as the products designed by the students were appreciated by the respective management and they have shown willingness to make them part of their respective collections. Another outcome of this intervention was the development of a program structure for internships. A SOP was generated for an effective internship program, resulting in bridging the gap between the interns and factory staff/management. It is hoped that during the course of the project, the internship program will be expanded next summer, and will be going out to other sectors like garment, gloves, etc.

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