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How A Creative Entrepreneur Makes A Social Impact Through Fashion
By Open Campus at The New School, 19 Aug 2019
Fashion is about more than what you wear; it’s also about social impact, global connectivity, and storytelling. At least that’s the mission behind entrepreneur Nidhi Garg’s fashion company, Marasim.
Marasim is a Hindi word for connections, which is the guiding principle behind the NYC- and India-based company. Marasim empowers local artisans in developing countries, especially India, to share their craft with leading designers around the world.
The impact of these connections go far beyond the fashion industry and extend into developing deeper relationships between two cultures and fostering positive changes for the environment.
“Making and buying a product becomes more soulful when somebody's story is being told,” said Nidhi. “From a cross-cultural exchange point of view, there's a huge impact.”
Nidhi also prides herself on promoting sustainability, since the raw materials are locally sourced by the artisans and the fashion products completed by the designers are not mass-run, machine-produced.
“Because Indian industry is not very developed, they're still following the original traditions,” said Nidhi. “For example, they're still using all the materials to create fabrics from scratch, like from a fiber they will find. They will use real silk worms, get silks from them, dye them in natural colors with the color available from the root of a tree or a leaf, and then weave them into beautiful fabrics.”
In addition to collaborating with Indian artisans at the grassroots level, Nidhi needed to develop deeper connections with the fashion designers who would be using the artisans’ handiwork. Nidhi’s desire to understand fashion design clients better--their design process, how they form their mood boards, how they form their color palettes, and how they technically construct a garment--motivated her to pursue continuing education in fashion design.
As part of her transition to fashion entrepreneur, Nidhi earned a Fashion Design Certificate through Open Campus, The New School’s destination for continuing and professional education that draws upon the vast resources of the top-ranked Parsons School of Design. Nidhi’s coursework in garment construction, as well as her access to resources like on-campus events and the Parsons library, gave her the tools and confidence she needed to expand her business and continue to solve problems in the fashion industry.
“I think Parsons at Open Campus has had a very profound impact on me,” said Nidhi. “As an entrepreneur I'm always refining my idea to serve my clients better, to form a better sustainable business model, and I think all of this knowledge and this meeting different people from different backgrounds has made me more informed about what I'm getting into and the people that I'm serving.”
The relationships she had with her professors and classmates also proved instrumental to her professional development and the growth of Marasim. “The faculty is very cooperative, and they're with you not just in class but even after the class ends,” said Nidhi. “They helped to connect me with other people at the school if I needed help outside of what they could personally do for me.”
In addition to Fashion Design, Open Campus at The New School offers a variety of noncredit certificate programs for creatives and professionals looking to enhance their skill sets. Social impact-oriented professionals can explore options such as the Business Design for Social Impact certificate, which harnesses the power of the design process to create and develop a socially innovative business or socially-conscious initiatives within a company. Registration is open for Open Campus fall courses starting as early as August 26.
Watch the video below to learn more about Nidhi’s story, or explore the diverse array of courses and certificate programs offered by Open Campus.
This is a sponsored feature.
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