Paolo Zegna speaking at Samsung Maestros Academy's press event.


Gildo Zegna and Angela Missoni have been named this year’s ambassadors of the Samsung Maestros Academy program. Launched in 2013 by the South Korean company, the digital academy aims to create a link between young talents and top Italian companies in order to enhance local craftsmanship and create a new generation of leading brands.

Themed #artigianipertradizione, or artisans by tradition, this year’s edition focused on the know-how that fathers pass on to their children.

Samsung decided to enhance the platform’s testimonials with the words of prominent ambassadors. Gildo Zegna and Angela Missoni are featured and shared their stories in a documentary movie that was teased Wednesday [Oct.12] at a press event and which will be broadcast on Italian TV channel La7 on Oct. 31.

“I think Samsung Maestros Academy #artigianipertradizione is a very clever initiative. The artisanal know-how is fundamental in the industry, so [we] have to keep it alive and know how to pass it on from generation to generation,” Zegna said in the teaser clip.

“Every initiative that supports youth to know and get closer to craftsmanship…is precious in keeping alive the tradition,” echoes Missoni in the clip.

Present at the event was Paolo Zegna, president of the Ermenegildo Zegna Group, who highlighted the importance of the project and shared the key elements of the family company’s success through the years, including the sense of duty, constant curiosity, the will to improve every day, and the humility of putting the company’s best interests before his own.

Asked whether it was more difficult to pick up the baton or if it will be easier to pass it on to the next generation, he said the latter will be trickier.

“For us it has been pretty natural,” he said. “The company’s dimension was different, the times were different and there [were] a different education and lifestyle. Then we grew up along with the company’s growth so we had the opportunity to rise through the ranks a little bit and grow step by step.

“We have to admit that it’s not easy for new generations because [this] could be scary, there’s a [heavy legacy],” he added. “Because maybe they are [traveling] around the world and want to do other things, or create their own things.”

In addition to the ambassadors’ documentary, three other short movies were realized by students of the IED — the European Design Institute in Milan — and involved three local companies: the historic textile production firm Vitale Barberis Canonico; La Rosa, which has a long tradition in manufacturing mannequins for prominent fashion brands, and Saladini, a family renowned for its know-how for crafting knives.

Samsung started the collaboration with IED institute last year, assigning 12 scholarships that cover the complete education of emerging talents and give them the opportunity to realize their own projects. At the end of the six-month class, 10 projects were presented, including the final five, which had reached the stage where they could be realized through prototypes and be presented at the Samsung District during Milan’s Design Week.

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