Today we had a free morning to explore Verona. Even though it was raining, I spent most of the morning out in the city, mostly window shopping. After buying a pair of jeans I’ve been eyeing for two days, I went to Juliet’s house with Emily, Shelby, and Ruby. While the house was mostly empty, one room had the original costumes from the Romeo and Juliet movie from the 1960s. It was so cool to get to see them as that version is my favorite rendition of Romeo and Juliet. Another cool part of the house was the balcony that overlooks the courtyard where many people go to touch the Juliet statue and post letters to Juliet on the wall. While I didn’t post a letter on the wall, I did put a letter I wrote in a mailbox that was in one of the rooms in the house.
In the afternoon, we were given an introductory presentation on the Consorzio della Moda at one of the companies that is represented by this consortium. I knew the basics of the company as I had to present about them at one of our pre-departure meetings, but I learned more in depth today the reason behind why the consortium was started and the challenges they face. For example, the consortium acts as almost a backbone for many family owned businesses who would otherwise be falling behind in a world mostly made up of chains. The consortium also allows younger designers to get started on their projects. I learned today that one man difference between the US and Italy in the fashion world is that the US is more profit driven while Italy is dream driven. A designer in America may not be granted the same opportunities as one in Italy because it may seem to risky money wise but to an Italian, fashion is not driven by that business aspect. In order to allow many young designers to get started (and even for small companies to stay in business), therefore, the consortium was started.
We didn’t go too in depth on the difficulties that the consortium faces, but one that I remember was trying to balance competition in the world fashion arena. A positive aspect of this company however can be seen in the local fashion world of Verona and the surrounding areas. The representatives from Consorzio della Moda stressed to us that they often have the companies they oversee collaborate and in doing so increase profits for everyone exponentially. Hopefully we will learn more about this tomorrow at the site visit.
To end the day, we ate in the bakery right next door that was owned by one of the women who worked at the company we were visiting. A fun surprise at dinner came from our tour guide Luca who showed us that we were mentioned in the local newspaper! Basically, it translated to say that we are visiting from Pitt and said exactly where and when we would be during our visit to Verona and its fashion companies – a little creepy, but overall very cool!