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French laurels for fashion designer

Balasore, May 10: Promising fashion designer and local boy Pritam Panda has been selected by a leading French University, Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS), for an honorary master’s degree.

“I was over the moon when I received the call from ENS. I spoke to them for nearly half an hour just to be sure that it was not a prank call,” said the 29-year-old.

From establishing a fashion institute to encouraging local talents to finding shelves at various luxury stores across the globe and endorsing fitness brand Techno-gym, Pritam has done it all. His labels are available in major apparel stores in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Calcutta, London, Manchester, Bradford, Phuket, Bangkok, Malaysia, France, Dubai, Beirut (Lebanon), Cairo and Dhaka.

Primarily inspired by his fashion-designer sister Payal, Pritam took up this profession 10 years ago. He formed the “VKY-House of Fashion” in Calcutta in 2003. He underwent a short-term training programme under the tutelage of the late Alexander McQueen, a famous name in the fashion industry.

“Without my parents’ support, I could have never come this far,” said Panda, who had completed a certificate course in fashion technology from Calcutta. His parents, Pradyota Kumar and Minakshi Panda, were overjoyed at the news of him securing the opportunity to study at the prestigious university. Beaming with pride, his father said: “We always had great faith in his abilities. He showed signs of creativity since his childhood. Today, it is only because of his determination and hard work that he could realise his dream. We pray to God to shower him with the best of everything.”

Pritam had shot to fame for designing costumes for national and international celebrities such as Rani Mukherjee, Koena Mitra, Malaika Arora-Khan, Ujjwala Raut and Jude Kinnos.

Last year, he became the youngest ever entrepreneur to win the World Chopard Young Entrepreneur Award-2010. He is also the third Indian to have earned an opportunity at the Chambre Syndicalle de La Couture, Paris, for displaying his line of haute couture.

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