The Italian Perspective of the Fashion Supply Chain and More

On the 12th day in Italy, we were given a lecture by professor at the Catholica University, we said goodbye to the Catholics students, and then we toured the Armani Silos museum. At the beginning of the day, our professor from Italy focused on discussing fashion business models. We went through the supply chain, business models, and the sustainability of the fashion supply chain. Today I focused on learning more about these topics, and comparing the way it was taught in Italy to the way it’s taught in the United States.

I found many aspects of this Italian University lecture interesting compared to a traditional US lecture on supply chain management. The professor began by talking about different types of fashion brands which include luxury, designer, premium and retail. Luxury brands tend to have high vertical integration, as they like to ensure the highest quality they can. Designer brands are often top of the line well-known brands like Gucci and Armani. These brands often don’t use vertical integration, but will get top materials from specialized companies along the supply chain. Premium brands include Coach, Diesel, and North Face. These are often more expensive than most brands however are mainly valued for the name and a special quality. Retail brands are often the cheapest and have little control over their supply chain. This introduction to the different types of brands really opened my eyes, as it started the lecture out by giving lots of background information, which is often not given in an American setting. The

professor also went on to heavily mention the growth in the popularity of sustainability in fashion. Sustainability is now extremely important to talk about when talking about the fashion supply chain and is essentially shaping the future of fashion as the planet is beginning to suffer environmental consequences, and consumers have started caring more about the environmental impacts of the products they’re buying. Because of this, profit is no longer everything for businesses and there are many more issues to begin to start fixing to create the perfect balance of overall success. The professor mentioned how one of my peers was wearing a Patagonia shirt and then started talking about the sustainability of Patagonia. Me and many of my peers were impressed by this as it showed the incredible amount of knowledge the professor had about the subject, and how we can relate this sustainability conversation to our daily lives. It also showed engagement in an Italian classroom setting which was unique to see. I was also impressed with the awareness of the issue of sustainability in Italy, as it is often slightly overshadowed in the US, but was almost half of an entire lecture in Italy.

At the end of the lecture, the professor thanked us and talked about classes she teaches over the summer and talked about how classes work in Catholica University. I learned that there were very few students taking the only English classes compared to the total number of students in the university, even with so many Italians speaking English. I then talked about this with the students and learned that even though there are many fluent English speaking Italians, a lot of them speak way better Italian. This helped me put into perspective how far Italian really can get people in society, and that it means a lot to the culture.

As my time in Italy nears an end, it’s time to address Italy’s Global/National Environment. When hearing the lecture at Catholica University and meeting the Catholica students, I learned a lot about how the country views the rest of the world. I was asked multiple times about Trump, as controversy with his presidency continued to arise during my stay. While I mostly avoided these conversations, I was fascinated to see their interest in what’s going on in the rest of the world. In my opinion, many Americans tend to often be self-interested, and lack knowledge of the rest of the world. I think the American news culture should gear towards that of Italy, and give a focus on other countries too. Italy has an extremely complex political system, in which the country isn’t as divided into parties. Because of this, there are a good amount of Italians who don’t focus on politics. Regardless of the political environment, Italians tend to get along with each other very well, giving the country a low rate of violent crimes. I had a lot of fun at the Catholica University, and I dread the program ending after a visit to the Linea-Pelle leather company tomorrow. Stay tuned!


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