Kerala-based design school, Cindrebay brings latest design trends to Tier II cities

Khushboo Agarwal started as a content writer for Cindrebay School of Fashion and Interior Design and now is their Regional Director 
Khushboo Agarwal is the Regional Director of Cindrebay
Khushboo Agarwal is the Regional Director of Cindrebay

The Cindrebay School of Fashion and Interior Design was started in Kozhikode in 2006. But in May 2017, armed with all the right research, location possibilities and marketing strategies, Khushboo Agarwal approached the management with a plan to start its first branch in Nagpur, Maharashtra. And who is she? Agarwal used to write blogs for them, and before that, teach at colleges like Priyadarshini College of Engineering and Jhulelal Institute of Technology in Nagpur. In the past, she has also headed Project Sammaan — a project working towards a reimagined model for urban sanitation, that was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She clearly has the leadership skills in place to start and lead a branch of her own. And Cindrebay’s management saw that too. That's why they made her the Regional Director of North (besides starting her own branch in Nagpur).

8,987 students who have trained at Cindrebay, Nagpur. They held 382 workshops and held as many as 1,645 guest lectures

Talking about education, Agarwal fumes that there are many differences between the courses and the way they are taught in Tier-II and Tier-III cities when compared to cities like Delhi or Mumbai, "forget international standards! We are at least 20 to 30 years behind them in terms of curriculum." Cindrebay is their attempt to bring the ‘other’ cities up to speed with the rest of the world. "We also want to inculcate a certain design sensitivity in students," she highlights. Agarwal's purpose is to also make sure that her students are up-to-date with the latest software, design trends and practical aspects of the course. "And this is unlike most institutes in Nagpur, as they don't focus on the software too much," says the 31-year-old, adding that AutoCAD, Revit and Adobe Photoshop are some of the tools they teach.  

All smiles: Cindrebay members pose for the camera

But we wouldn't be doing justice to Agarwal's story if we didn't mention her other struggles. Born into a Marwari family with an alcoholic for a father, Agarwal could complete her education only because her mother's brother was sponsoring it. But she completed her master's on her own by working at various places. Then, Project Sammaan happened to her, where she was heading a team that designed toilets for the poor. "It was a maddening experience. We made almost 40,000 drawings," she recollects. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Education is very important. Many women are bound to their circumstances because they are not educated

Khushboo Agarwal, Regional Director, North, Cindrebay School of Fashion & Interior Design 

What is the force behind her resilience, we wonder. "The mindset that the worst is already behind me," she answers. Agarwal describes how she did not lose her spirit and believed, with all her heart and soul, that things will fall into place. "And those little calculations that we make in our heads, ‘what if this happens’, ‘what if that happens’, those are the imaginary devils that we need to get rid of," she says vehemently at the end of our conversation.

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