Featured Student: Tarveen Kaur Nagpal

Tell us about your background.

I am an international student and previously completed an undergrad in Fashion and Design at NIFT in Delhi, India. After interning at a well-known ethnic wear brand and diversifying design pathways for handloom and woven heritage textiles, I briefly worked within the fashion export industry as a designer. I am a practicing Sikh and have a strong interest in Sikh art and culture, which has shaped my master’s project.

Why Fashion?

As a child, I was fascinated with my mother and grandmother’s wardrobe collections. The rich silks, intricately embroidered muslins and a myriad of exquisite Indian textiles enthralled me. As I grew up, I continued to show a flair for art and craft and even after excelling in my biology classes at school, I knew I belonged in fashion.

Why did you join this MA?

As a design professional, I feel strongly about addressing challenges and issues within the fashion and cultural industries and wanted to understand more about fashion systems and the transmission of culture over time and space. It was largely for these reasons that I decided to pursue this MA. Also, I wanted to refine my skills and ideas as a researcher, in a way that would allow me to create a bridge between mainstream fashion and my social and cultural responsibility.

Give us an example of a particular project you have enjoyed working on during the course.

I have enjoyed all of the units. Writing a catalogue essay for a proposed/fictional exhibition on the representation of Sikhs in the art and prints of the late 18th and early 19th century was probably the one I enjoyed most. I looked at the customs and traditions related to men’s attire through visual analysis and representations of Sikhs in art and prints.

What extracurricular activities have you been involved with?

I’ve been part of the ‘Sikh Art’ project initiative at National Army Museum, where we are interpreting the museum’s collection through a female-Sikh (Kaur)’s perspective. I also volunteer at their archives and assist with online collection work. It has been an amazing experience and it has provided me with a very personal engagement with my cultural history. Also, I’ve worked as a freelance costume consultant for Rocklock Film’s ‘The Jungle Book’, where I assisted Oscar winning Alexandra Byrne’s team to recreate saris worn by Nineteenth-century Gond tribesmen.

Where do you hope to be in two years time?

In the coming future I aim to seek experience in the cultural sector, as an archivist working with museum collections or with craft-culture focus groups at grass-roots level within the handicraft industry. I am also looking to publish papers as a budding fashion and cultural studies researcher and hopefully, as my experience grows, I would like to eventually diverge into academia as a practicing scholar, perhaps pursuing a PhD. I would also like to lecture on fashion and cultural studies, perhaps in a more focused field/discipline.

In the coming future I aim to seek experience in the cultural sector, as an archivist working with museum collections or with craft-culture focus groups at grass-roots level within the handicraft industry. I am also looking to publish papers as a budding fashion and cultural studies researcher and hopefully, as my experience grows, I would like to eventually diverge into academia as a practicing scholar, perhaps pursuing a PhD. I would also like to lecture on fashion and cultural studies, perhaps in a more focused field/discipline.

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