Day 9: Fashion School, Fashion Consortium

The weather was perfect today as we set out to visit Verona’s New Academy of Design. We met with the one of the directors of the fashion program at the school and learned a little more about how Italian higher education works in comparison to that of a more traditional American university, regarding fashion and design.

New Academy of Design offers three disciplines/schools to their students: Architectural Design, Fashion Design, and Visual Design. In Italy, people pursuing Fashion and Visual Design disciplines graduate with a “major” in literature, while American universities have separate named majors for these disciplines. And while a student may spend four or five years at an average American university, Italian students undergo a three-year program.

Students here have very project-based courses, and often enter design competitions put on by Italian companies to develop their portfolios. We talked with two students in their third year of the program, Elena and Alana, who won design contests for a hotel group and a material group, respectively. After meeting with them, we got to see the work of some students who created pieces for a Karl Lagerfeld inspired show, a designer who famously worked closely with Coco Chanel.

It was interesting to learn about how students, especially those in the fashion discipline, must create and familiarize themselves with every piece of fashion, from designing the storefront to creating the tags for their clothing. My favorite observation was of how despite students being given the same concept to design their project with, each approached the idea in a unique manner.

Our final visit of the day was a tour at Mero & More, a member of the Verona Fashion Consortium (we will be visiting with the director of the consortium later in the trip to learn more about its role in Veronese fashion and economics!). Mero & More, is a brand that specializes in women’s fashion and, while based in Italy, they are not a very large brand here. Instead, they are hugely popular in Russia, Japan, and India! They were kind enough to walk us through their headquarters and workshop to learn more about their design process and business model.

It was interesting to see how companies design and produce different fashions and how they manage to do so quickly for ever changing seasons in fashion. It gives me a greater respect for the people who work in fashion, and for the skill and practice it takes to predict a market and its trends months before they occur!

After Mero & More, we went out to enjoy the sunset on the bridge of Castle Vecchio near our hotel and enjoyed some dinner. I’m really enjoying Verona, and I’m looking forward to going to Venice tomorrow!

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