Be fearless in the pursuit of your dreams: M M Kariappa

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From just 4 students in 1996, without any financial backing or experience in fashion business to setting up a 4-acre campus in the Apparel Park with nearly 800 students, it has been a long and arduous journey for M M Kariappa, Chairman, Vogue Institute of Art & Design (VIAD). A dynamic trendsetter, yet rooted in culture, a disciplinarian, yet humble and kind, a visionary who dreams big yet a meticulous planner, is the beautiful paradox that M M Kariappa, is which makes him an inspiration for many a budding entrepreneur.

Excerpts of the exclusive interview:

Fox Interviewer: Your journey so far….

M M Kariappa: I started Vogue in the year 1996, with merely 4 students, without having any financial backing or experience in fashion industry. In the year 1999, Vogue became the first design school in the country to be affiliated to Bangalore University in offering undergraduate degree courses in Fashion and Apparel Design (BSc. FAD).

Today we have come a long way. We have built a state-of-the-art campus in the heart of the Apparel Park amidst elite group of industries, with apprentice programs for our students, thus making them industry ready in the true sense with plenty of industry exposure and experience. 

In the year 2018, we added another feather on our cap by launching Dr. Kariappa Business School, approved by AICTE and affiliated to Bangalore North University, which offers Master degree in Business Administration (MBA) and undergraduate courses in Aviation (BBA- Aviation).

FI: Your success mantra…. 

MMK: Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.

FI: A Day in the life of M M Kariappa…

MMK: My days are normally planned in advance. Prayer and exercise in the morning, sometimes catch up with a game of golf or hit the gym, reading the news, breakfast with family, getting to work by 10 AM, meetings with the department heads…

In the evenings, sometimes catching up with business associates or friends, get home, have dinner, read and then get to bed.

FI: Three big achievements in your life….. 

MMK: 1. Having grown Vogue from a mere 4 students, in the year 1996 to having nearly 700-800 students in various design disciplines. Knowing that thousands of our alumni have greatly benefitted from our education, having created a mark for themselves in the ever-growing fashion and design industry.

2. Having a successful journey in NCC, completing the mountaineering program from Himalayan Mountain Institute (HMI) with the noted Tenzing Norgay.

​3. Bestowed with the honorary doctorate from Indian Virtual University for Peace and Foundation, Niti Aayog, Government of India for outstanding contribution in the field of Art, design and technology​

FI: The next game-changer in the fashion and design industry….

MMK: Design has evolved to interacting with everything around us. To deal with today’s large, complex problems, design education needs to change to include multiple disciplines, technology, art, the social sciences, politics, and business. Designers of today have to become advocates for social and environmental responsibility. We, as a design institute will need to impart these practices through our education.

FI:  Your other interests….

MMK: Am passionate about golf and giving back to society.

FI: Your favourite brands…

MMK: Giorgio Armani, Alexander Mcqueen etc.

FI: Your style quotient…

MMK: Comfortable yet chic. Know who you are and express yourself by the way you dress and the way you live.

FI: The one thing on your bucket list… 

MMK: To position Vogue on the international map for being known as one of the top design schools in the world, having achieved excellence in current education standards.

FI: Advice to students who would like to make a career in fashion, arts & design…MMK: One should have a creative mindset, be passionate and enjoy your work. Always keep your eyes open for opportunities, keep abreast with the latest trends and strive to be the best at what you do.


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Koushik Das is a Author/Entrepreneur/Journalist from a small city in Tripura.
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