This morning, we left on a walking tour of Milan’s fashion district. The streets were lined with designer stores like Gucci, Versace, Dior, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, and many more. The area is extremely high-end and represented what I think of when I hear “fashion capital of the world.” Hopefully I will be rich enough to shop these streets one day, but until then, I’ll just have to window shop. The tour guide led us to an enormous luxury department store called Excelsior Milano. We then had the opportunity to tour its 6 floors. Its interior decor is very modern, colorful, and eye-catching, so it was fun to look around at everything. The ground floor has cool tech gadgets and small accessories, the first floor is men’s fashion, the second is women’s fashion, the third is larger accessories like bags, and the fourth is shoes. They carry upscale, fashion-forward products from typical brands such as Adidas and Vans as well as more luxury products from brands like Gucci and Christian Louboutin. Overall, the store is far out of my budget, but being able to tour it was really neat. There were also two floors below the ground floor that housed a large food and drink market. We toured these floors when we were hungry, so you could pretty much say it was torture.
Luckily, we got lunch soon after at a hotel restaurant near the fashion district, and it was delicious (shocking, I know). The first course was risotto with saffron, which I know Milan is famous for. I had yet to try risotto here until today, and I really enjoyed it. The second course was a deep-fried veal cutlet with potato wedges. The veal was very tasty and reminded me a lot of fried chicken. The portions were huge, yet again, so we all left the restaurant with full stomachs.
The last thing on the agenda for today was a presentation by a guest lecturer from a fairly new company called Velasca. Velasca is a men’s shoe company that prides itself on providing hand-made, quality, leather, Italian shoes at more affordable prices than many luxury competitors. The lecturer gave an extremely informative presentation about the importance of selecting a target market, clearly defining that market, and communicating effectively to these types of consumers. Everything she spoke about tied into what I learned this past year in a few of my classes such as Managing in Complex Environments and (especially) Introduction to Marketing. She stressed the importance of effective communication strategies because Velasca’s products are not differentiated enough to stand out in the market on their own.