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What does Maestro designer Nikhil Mehra, entrepreneurs Utkarsh Ahuja and Karan Ahuja and a corporate strategic alliance expert Chaitanya Kakkar have in common? All these young and dynamic men are not only changing the face of fashion and lifestyle in India, but all have a common alma mater, Pearl Academy. Pearl Academy through its creative arts education is providing expertise and training in the fields of fashion, design, and business for over two decades now.
Nikhil Mehra- Director, Shantanu & Nikhil
Through his creativity and intellect, Nikhil Mehra has made a name for himself in the extensive spheres of contemporary styling for Bollywood and many international red carpet events. Coming together with his brother Shantanu Mehra, the duo launched their fashion label ‘Shantanu & Nikhil’ in the year 1999. They create Statement fusion kurta sets, evening gowns, draped saris and cocktail dresses in bold colours and dramatic silhouettes.
Nikhil has always been a creative mind inclined towards making a career in the fashion industry; he graduated from Pearl Academy in 1996 and went on to do an advanced fashion design course from Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, California. Nikhil’s ingenious mind has been acknowledged globally right from the commencement of his career, where he was invited to design a collection for a prestigious store “Giorgio Beverly Hills” in Los Angeles and was featured in L.A. Times. He is the only Indian designer to have had a show in Universal Studio, Hollywood. Coming back to India, Nikhil costumed many eminent personalities from the world of Sports and Bollywood. Having registered his name as India’s top Best Dressed Men, Nikhil is also an ardent golf player who has played many prestigious tournaments.
Graduating from Pearl in 2012, Utkarsh immediately joined his traditional family business at Chandni Chowk. Within a year of joining, the company launched its first luxury brand in 2014 - MATSYA - which is now present in every premier multi-brand location & online space in the country. Also, in 2013 they launched their first pret line - AZRA & global line - “#evolve” in 2015 - both of which will enter the consumer marketing space in 2016 followed by their jump into retail with the same. Utkarsh brought precise methods and techniques to the family’s old school business practices and has eventually led the business grow three folds within few years.
Utkarsh has always envisioned conquering the niche fashion industry in India. Today, he is a confident entrepreneur and credits Pearl Academy for his evolution. He said, “In a time of inconsistent market behaviour & volatile economy, academic & theoretical brilliance has to be matched with ground level expertise on the retail floor, and that’s what the Academy gave me, along with the belief in the greatness of my vision.”
Chaitanya Kakkar, Strategic Analyst- Oxigen Wallet
Having started his career with an internet portal Deals&You as Sales & Marketing specialist, Chaitanya climbed the corporate ladder quite swiftly; earning double promotions within 15 months of joining. In his five years long stint with the Corporate, Chaitanya worked on diverse and prestigious projects. Chaitanya fondly reminisces, “looking back I can see Pearl Academy was critical and a stepping stone in my career. It helped me build a rock solid platform. PGD in Fashion Marketing helped me enter the Corporate by being a Category Head for Fashion & Lifestyle and then gradually diversifying my horizon.”
Currently working with Oxigen Wallet, Chaitanya is responsible for Strategic Alliances & Acquisitions. He acknowledges the Faculty at Pearl for “taming brats” like him and pushing them to hone their talents and pursue a meaningful life and career.
Karan Ahuja, Director- Ahujasons Shawl Wale Pvt. Ltd.
Karan joined his family business quite early at the age of 19 and started learning the basics of the business by observing the day to day activities. It was his aim to make Ahujasons a global player so that people from across all geographies boundaries can acknowledge and appreciate their products. It was this motivation that inspired Karan to take a course at Pearl Academy. Karan always had a flair for designing and after a formal training in the same, today his products- shawls, stoles, and scarves have an edge over his competitors. Due to Karan’s perseverance and hard-work, Ahujasons Shawl Wale Pvt. Ltd. has been recognized with the Top Export Award for Shawls as Artware -for the year 2013 and 2014 by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts.
Not limiting his prospects to the traditional market Ahujasons as a brand has always enjoyed, Karan wanted to create the retail brand and as well as give the existing brand a more contemporary feel. So, as an extension of their existing expertise in Pashminas, Karan conceptualized a premium brand concentrating on handmade pashmina stoles and shawls by the name of Ahujasons Prive in Khan Market, Delhi- A one of a kind high fashion handmade pure pashmina boutique.
Since its inception in the year 1993 Pearl Academy has nurtured many prodigies, channelizing their creativity in the right direction, assisting them in turning their interests in crafts and paving a path that promises success.