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Making up for beauty boom

October 29, 2003 09:59 IST

Delhi-based fashion institute, Pearl Academy of Fashion, seems to have its finger on the pulse of the job market.

Last month the academy kicked off its fashion media make-up programme, arguably the first of its kind in the country from a recognised institute.

Make-up, as people in the beauty business would have us believe, is the hottest profession going. "It's paying, trendy and you meet a lot of glamorous people," says former model and stylist Malavika Tiwari.

Tiwari should know. As a consultant at Lakme Lever's beauty salon in Delhi, she has seen the footfalls at the parlour grow in the last year.

Observes Anil Chopra, business head, Lakme Lever: "Its demand as a profession is growing. Besides film and theatre there are many new avenues."

Chopra is referring to the burgeoning need for make-up artists for ramp shows, news and entertainment channels, ad films and the good-old bridal make-up.

Tiwari is confident that the beauty business will continue to grow as "the whole concept of beauty has become aspirational". "Today, women come to get their faces done even before parties," she adds.

Clearly, Pearl Academy's one-year diploma (Rs 134,000) has been launched with an eye on this market.

"Our approach to fashion is holistic," says A K G Nair, executive director at Pearl, explaining the reason behind introducing the new course. The one-year diploma programme debuted with 16 students.

But for majority of people interested in taking up make-up as a profession the only way to learn is to apprentice themselves to established artists.

Says Probir De, one of Kolkata's busiest make-up artists: "I don't have any formal training. I started off doing bridals and moved on to theatre, films and now ramp and television." De holds regular workshops and charges between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 per class.

Yet there are others who've been trained abroad. Bangalore's well-known make-up artist Leila Sharma studied at the International Therapy Examination Council in the UK and trained in stage and screen make-up with artist Linda Meridith in London.

And as Delhi-based stylist Yatan Ahluwalia would have us believe, make-up is not an easy profession.

"Firstly you need the right bent of mind and then loads of patience. Frankly I suggest it to just one out of 10 people to take it up," he says.

But once you learn the ropes, the pickings are good. A beginner may start with roughly Rs 15,000 a month and then gradually move up the chain. Predictably, established artists are averse to disclosing their monthly income.

But back-of-the envelope calculations reveal that a top artist could be earning nearly Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million) a month during the peak bridal season. "We could be dressing-up 20 customers a day during the period," says a well-known artist.

In view of the growing number of TV channels and fashion events, the industry realises the lacunae in the field of make-up.

Vinod Kaul, executive director, Fashion Design Council of India puts the whole make-up industry in perspective: "It's an industry in a nascent stage and is all set to boom in the next few years. Lifestyle industry, as a whole, is on an upward trend. And make-up, like choreography, is one of the two major employment generators in this sector."
Yusuf Begg