A lot has happened since leaving Sydney. I have been only in Florence for less than a week, and it already feels like my home away with home. It has become normal to wake up with the picturesque cityscape outside my window, and down the road, where I could stroll down for a pizza, pasta, soup (my ABSOLUTE favourite) or gelato, and never getting bored with my surroundings.
I have always been the one to wear a dressing gown in summer, but I have surprised myself: it has been maybe 15 degrees and I am loving it, probably because I LOVE layering with winter fashion. Well… There is that, and I DEFINITELY know where I would have rather been when it was 45 degrees in Sydney.
I would have never imagined that I would be a solo traveller venturing across the globe, navigating through the human traffic within airports, because I have always had someone with me on my past voyages.
While sleep and exhaustion eluded me, reality would remind me of my family and loved ones (especially my beagle Cleo) who would only be a phone call away. Arriving was relieving because I DESPERATE for a bed, excited to settle in, but I was mainly looking forward to the dinner date I arranged with some fellow students who checked into the accommodation. I was excited to meet likeminded, but a diverse bunch of people that I have only spoken to on Facebook. You know that saying “It’s a small world”? Well. I study journalism at UTS, and I discover someone who I have never paths with who studies journalism at UTS, AND someone who lives about half an hour away from me!
It was one of the coldest walks home I have ever endured (which was probably good for me, because I was nodding off at the table), but spaghetti was in my belly, and the Duomo was one of the most breathtaking sites I have ever laid eyes on, no matter which angle I stared from.
It was and still is amazing to discover everyone’s approach with fashion whether they were studying media or communications like me, fashion design (which is super cool), or even business, everyone has their own niche to bring to the table.
My first full day
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I have always believed this. WELL. When I saw croissants, Danishes, slices, fruits, and rolls, I knew my judgement was correct. I do not feel guilty for eating three croissants with butter and cherry jam everyday with an orange to keep my Vitamin C up.
The first day was the day to explore! No matter how much I tried, I could not get a photo showing the complete Duomo, but I was okay with that, AND I found someone who loves to take photos in front of monuments like me, which comes in handy!
If is one thing I was DETERMINED to do in Italy, and doing a media and fashion course this would be fitting, was walk into a Prada and Gucci store. I had not done this in Sydney, and I purposely held off because if you are going to even WALK in there, why not do it in the country of origin, and specifically for Gucci, their birth city? I knew I was not going to buy things but I felt special walking around. I understood why people walked in there just to experience the chic atmosphere, the eccentric, high-end aesthetic with luxurious colours, textures and details and exquisite interiors.
My first week at IED (The European Institute of Design)
I was not too sure what to expect, I was intimidated by the fact I would be going to Pitti Imaginne (Italian Fashion Week) and will be directing a photoshoot, but excited that I will have the opportunity to do so, reinforcing that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially as my goal is to merge my love for fashion and journalism together.
Classes have ranged from professional photography which I find fascinating as I take photos as a hobby (and am a criminal offender for Instagram food photos), to predicting trends which involves looking at many influences such as colours, textures, cultures, places, history, beliefs and values.
Our mission is to predict three trends for 2019, and pitch the trends’ concepts, textures, colours and patterns, which is where Pitti comes into the picture
Pitti Uomo was one of those unforgettable, unique experiences. We were told it was a unconventional fashion showcase that had no catwalks, and well-dressed men (as uomo means men in Italian) strutting around waiting to be photographed, and believe me, they were. I will be truthful, I have always perceived men’s fashion as limited with what they could wear, and was a little unsure if there would be much to the event. Well I was wrong. There were many coloured suits with pinstripes and tartan, extravagant coats with fur collars, plaited belts in all colours, ties with patterns galore and quirky cufflinks. For part of the day, I wished I was a man for all the rich hues and textures which oozed class and business while still keeping the fun with a pop of colour or a quirky accessory.
It was initially scary, because there was so much to take in in so little time, and I was nervous to ask to take pictures and ask designers about their inspiration and their design process. It was very much a mixed bag of lollies: some were not so nice, and there were some who were very approachable (but all of them were super stylish). The rain did not help the setting, but it was an unforgettable challenge that I plan to carry into my career.
It took me almost a week but I FINALLY had my first gelato, and it was DEFINITELY worth the wait! The chunks of hazelnut made all the difference, and the fact that it was 2.50 Euro was even better.
Throughout this trip, I have been reminded of home through everyday. Whether it is dogs everyday (it was a little emotional seeing a beagle), finding chickpea soup like mum makes it, and minestrone, and not having them by my side everyday, I do miss them very much, but I cannot wait to tell them all about it.
"It was amazing learning from teachers that were very successful in their own fields, and meeting other designers from around Australia and the world. Living Italy opened my eyes to how similar and different the rest of the world is!"
I've completed two AIM Overseas course and absolutely loved both of them. They have been the greatest decisions I've ever made. I strongly recommend immersing yourself in another culture and studying overseas through these programs.