Day 2 in Verona and we are already keeping extremely busy! Today was full of a lot of activity starting off in a design school for architecture, visual, and fashion design. It was surprising to hear that there was no specific “major” or degree for fashion in Italy (or at least at this school from what I could understand), considering it contains the fashion capital of the world. It was nice to see that like in the U.S.; a student can overlap classes in different fields to deepen their knowledge. Also, how one subject can pertain to many different fields; for example, architectural design for business is about making people come in and want to stay, while for engineers it is about making something easy to use and comfortable. Another contrast I noticed between the United States is with regards to an organization’s self-interest in the U.S. The design school today said student’s hold full ownership of the design and get all rewards if the design was implemented. However, I have a feeling that in the United States somehow a university or organization would somehow be compensated with more than just “bragging rights”. The highlight of this trip was seeing the actual interior design hotel room plans and the dresses made to honor Karl Lagerfeld, because it allowed us insight on what actually gets done in the school rather than just what is told to us.
After a quick shopping and lunch break, we then went on a company visit to Mero and More. This company is one of 300 members in the fashion consortium of Italy. The consortium stresses “Made in Italy” and therefore keeps a very small number of suppliers in the supply chain consisting of only Italian fashion/fabric companies. However, Mero and More produce in large quantities because they ship final products to different locations in Italy and abroad. It was interesting to hear that the United States is a difficult market to sell to as Americans put more priority on brand quality/inexpensive products or high-quality items rather than middle quality goods (which is what is primarily distributed by the consortium). Even though Mero and More is a smaller company, and therefore is able to adjust to the changing market, it acts as a distributor to not only retail locations but also to hotels for products such as lamps. Companies like this, and others in the fashion consortium, provide a platform for designers to launch their ideas and serve as a platform for research and development for their consumers. To my knowledge, nothing like this exists in the United States so it was very interesting to learn about how an organization like this operates. Tomorrow we go to Venice and I have only heard good things, so I am very excited for the night to pass by!