Taking part in the Media and Communication for the Fashion Industry course this past week in Florence, Italy, has been nothing less than amazing. The week started off with a chill as I flew into Rome to see snow falling at the airport, a bit of a shock after leaving the 40 degree heat in Australia. My first glimpse of Florence was absolutely gorgeous. Despite the fact that it was pitch black at 6pm, the fairy lights scattered through the trees made the city sparkle.
Upon arrival at the hotel, I met the other girls and guys from the program, and joined them for an Italian feast at a restaurant named Osteria dei Baroncelli. Amazing is an understatement, and the food coma afterwards was definitely worth it.
Orientation at 3pm meant there were many hours during the morning to explore the cobblestone streets of Florence. After a feast of chocolate croissants and pastries for breakfast, I joined some of the other girls and walked into the city centre. We made our way past the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Duomo. Its incredible architecture and timeless beauty made for an awesome photo opportunity. We then visited the Ponte Vecchio, one of the oldest bridges in Florence. Built over the River Arno, the bridge is filled with luxurious jewellery stores and charming cafes. The view of the bridge is astonishing and definitely a must-see for anyone visiting Florence.
After a quick lunch consisting of wood-fired pizza (typical Italy), all 30 Australian students walked to our new university, the European Institute of Design. We met our professors and were informed of what the next few weeks would have in store for us. A visit to a fashion fair, the chance to work backstage on a runway show, and working on a photoshoot with a professional photographer. Sounds like such a tough life right?
Today we visited the annual Pitti Uomo Fashion Fair, a tradeshow dedicated to high-end clothing and accessories for men. The fair was amazing, with hundreds of stores showcasing new fashion trends and innovative styles. We were surrounded by beautiful garments, handcrafted shoes, hats and handbags, and well-known fashion designers. The day at the fair was an opportunity for us to research up-coming trends in fashion and the inspiration behind the unique designs, prints and materials. The day was successful, resulting in a newfound appreciation for clothing and a bunch of freebies to take home. I’d be lying if I said the free bags, t-shirts and drink bottles weren’t my favourite part of the fair.
On the Wednesday we got to immerse ourselves in high end fashion and gorgeous designs once again as we were invited to work at the Concept Korea runway show. Equipped with our backstage passes and official black tees we were briefed about our job for the day. Each of us were assigned a model and were in charge of dressing them for the show and making sure their outfit was runway ready. Now if you think this sounds like an easy task, think again. When dressing for a runway show, everything has to be perfect. And I mean P.E.R.F.E.C.T. As your model finishes their first walk on the runaway, you literally have 30 seconds to undress and redress them for the second walk, as well as making sure everything is absolutely flawless. 1 second late and you’ve basically just ruined the entire show. Talk about stressful!
Aside from my blood pressure skyrocketing, being involved in the fashion show was such an amazing opportunity. I had the chance to speak with runway models from all over the world, interact with professional photographers and even got to meet Byungmun Seo, the designer of a menswear line named Bmuette. I will forever be grateful for this experience and won’t be forgetting about it anytime soon.
The next day began with a visit to the Salavatore Ferragamo museum and the Gucci museum. But alas it was not all fun and games as that afternoon in class we were given our first assessment. The class was based on trend forecasting and predicting popular fashion styles for the future. We were split into groups and began working on our tasks. Each of the groups included an Italian fashion student to help us along our way (it was also super cool to make a new friend from a country on the other side of the world). The assignment focused on developing new fashion trends for 2018, with our inspiration drawn from the amazing styles we saw at the Pitti Uomo Fashion Fair. The afternoon was fun as we came up with newfangled designs and outrageous trends. We began to create a look-book for our trends, concentrating on the colours, textures, materials and style of our hypothetical clothing. Not only was it fun to be involved in such an interactive task, but it was a great opportunity to connect with classmates and learn about the other students on the program.
Today consisted of a full 6 hours at uni. Yes, you’re right, it sounds like a drag, but it honestly flew by! The first half of the day involved planning a photoshoot as part of a group assignment. We were informed that we would be the organisers for the photoshoot, working alongside a professional photographer, a professional model and professional hair and make-up artists (honestly it sounds way too fun to be an assignment). During the afternoon we worked in groups again, focusing on styling and piecing together the elements of our new clothing trends.
So far my experience at IED in Florence have been incredible. I honestly wish uni in Australia was as much fun as this program! And just in case you’re wondering, yes, the classes are taught in English. It’s actually a life saver considering my Italian vocabulary is limited to hello, goodbye and thank you!
With the weekend finally arriving, there is plenty of time to explore the amazing city of Florence. Today I will be adventuring around the city; shopping, sightseeing and eating amazing food. For now I’m off to immerse myself in the incredible Italian culture and make the most of my day. You’ll be hearing more from me as my adventure continues.
Until next time, Sophie