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Armani, Yoox and E-fashion: Firms Launching Scholarships

With e-commerce sales set to exceed $300 billion by 2012, leading fashion companies from Giorgio Armani to Valentino have been setting up shop online.

MILAN — With e-commerce sales set to exceed $300 billion by 2012 according to recent estimates, leading fashion companies from Giorgio Armani to Valentino have been setting up shop online.

Now, some of them are looking to invest in the next generation of e-tailers.

Giorgio Armani said it plans to join Internet fashion retailer Yoox Group in sponsoring students at a new one-year master’s degree in e-fashion program at the Politecnico di Milano’s business school MIP.

From the next academic year, when the program begins, Armani will offer one annual scholarship — covering the tuition fees of 15,500 euros, or $24,600 at current exchange — including a work experience opportunity with the Emporio Armani online store project team, which is powered by Yoox.

Yoox, which kick-started the initiative, is to offer three scholarships and internships to the master’s 40-student annual enrollment, and Diesel, Marni and Valentino will provide internships.

“Online shopping offers a new way of making purchases for an ever-increasing number of fashion clients,” Giorgio Armani said. “However, it is still a sector that has been little researched and at this point there are few professional experts capable of understanding and interpreting the dynamics of the market. The future lies in the Web and…I hope that this academic program will assist aspiring students to express their full potential.”

Yoox founder and chief executive officer Federico Marchetti said: “Yoox invented a profession in Italy eight years ago and now makes available its experience to help train the new fashion generation.”�