Fashion and Leonardo da Vinci

I planned on going to the Duomo this morning for 7 am mass with a few students, Dr Bursic, and Dr Clark, however I unfortunately could not wake up, so I started my day instead at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Traveling to the university was very cool as we rode the Milan subways (aka the Metro). Surprisingly it was easier than I thought to travel and even switch lines, the only tricky part was figuring out what all the Italian meant. We learned that the university was founded in 1921 in Milan and the main campus has about 30,000 students.

At the university, we were given a very interesting lecture on supply chains in the fashion industry. This was a perfect place to learn more about fashion and the business aspects as Milan is one of the fashion capitols of the world. I’ve always had an interest in fashion, but I have never taken an intensive course in it and being an engineering student I haven’t taken any courses on business management, so I learned a lot in this seminar. One thing that I found very interesting was the fact that there are four types of designers/retailers. The first is luxury, next is designer, then premium, and finally industrial. The industrial type is what most Americans are used to as these are what is called fast fashion. These stores mass produce clothes and have quick turnover of products. Designer and luxury are the higher end of fashion also known as the type of things I cannot afford. A fun fact about luxury brands is that there is an easy way to tell a fake from an original product: if the item you are looking at is being sold in the same store as other brands, it is definitely a fake.

Our lecturer Francesca finished up her talk by touching on sustainability in the fashion world. Before today, I was unaware of the day that apparently changed the focus of designers towards sustainability. On April 24, 2013, a building in Bangladesh collapsed due to port construction, killing hundreds of workers inside. These workers were part of different fashion companies. Because of this tragic accident, the fashion world began to look at sustainable ways to run their companies. We then learned about the three P’s that dominate companies today: People, Planet, and Profits. “People” encompasses all that has to do with living wages and good working conditions. When talking about sustainability, the environment and impacts that companies have on it is very important. One astounding fact I learned today was that it takes 10,000 liters (2641.721 gallons) just to make one pair of jeans. Because of this, areas in which jeans are manufactured are losing valuable water sources, leaving many areas dry and without any water. Continuing to make jeans this way is obviously not sustainable, so experts in the fashion world are designing new ways in which to make this process more environmentally friendly. And finally, profits in today’s world must still be considered. Without profits, you cannot keep your company running, and therefore cannot pay your workers, which ends in an unsustainable company.

This lecture was very informative and definitely sparked my interest into not only more of the differences in fashion retailers but also the sustainability manufacturing of things that I will be wearing in the future.

After lunch at the university, we visited the Leonardo da Vinci museum. It was awesome to see his sketches and models of boats and military weapons throughout the museum. While I knew that da Vinci studied anatomy while he was also a painter, but I did not know that he combined a lot of his studies into one activity. We learned through his paintings, he would also be studying anatomy. We also learned that he was the first artist to ever paint expressions. For example, there is a painting of a man listening to music. His one pupil is dilated more than the other as that’s what would happen when sunlight hit one eye and not another; the rest of his face shows a look of calm, which is what most people have when listening to music. To me, it was just so interesting to learn more about da Vinci and his extensive skills.

My favorite part of this museum was the submarine outside. I plan on joining the navy and working on either a ship or a sub, so it was really cool to finally see in real life something similar to what I will be working on. It was not only incredible to see the size of this submarine that was used in World War II, but also to realize that this sub is relatively small as it is a diesel sub, and not a nuclear one which are much larger.

Looking forward to our day visit to Como tomorrow!

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