Santo Versace

MILAN Italian fashion school Istituto Marangoni and Deloitte hosted on Tuesday the first “Fashion Education Market Monitor Summit,” aimed at highlighting the role of fashion schools and their relationship with the fashion industry.

During the conference, Tommaso Nastasi, Deloitte Financial Advisory partner, presented research commissioned by Istituto Marangoni and conducted by Deloitte, which analyzed the global fashion education business.

According to the research, the international fashion education market is valued at 800 million euros and, between 2012 and 2016, it registered a 6 percent average growth per year. In particular, the business posted a 11 percent increase in Asia and encouraging results also came from Italy, where the fashion education market, which is valued at 75 million euros and accounts for 15 percent of total international business, registered an annual 9 percent growth.

In terms of postgraduate placement, the biggest percentage of students who find jobs in fashion styling comes from Italian fashion schools, while alumni from British and North American schools are the most appealing for design departments. In addition, students from French schools have easier access to business jobs.

Deloitte’s research also highlighted that most of the fashion design graduates of Italian and British schools join the creative team of aspirational, luxury brands, while most of the students from North American institutes find a job in fast fashion and accessible luxury organizations.

What are the main skills graduates from fashion schools are required to mature during their educational path?

According to Deloitte’s research, 95 percent of the interviewed fashion professionals said in the near future, people employed in design teams will be asked not only to have creative skills, but also business acumen. Another 90 percent said the role of merchandiser is getting more and more relevant, while 75 percent of the interviewed noticed the increase relevance of omnichannel managers within organizations. In addition, strategic store managers, business people with product sensibility and data analysts emerged as key figures in the industry, along with logistic experts and CRM-specialized figures.

Design-wise, creative people will need to increase their technical and soft competences, which include a combination of people, social, communication and emotional skills.

Brunello Cucinelli, one of the main speakers at the summit, stressed the importance of human relationship for the success of a company.

“We have to give back dignity to work,” said Cucinelli, highlighting the necessity to give importance and relevance to each single person working in an organization. “Creativity depends on everyone’s effort in a company.”

For example, the entrepreneur said the idea of realizing a cashmere soccer ball, which was presented at Pitti Uomo in 2006, was inspired by a cleaning lady working in his company. “If she was scared of me, she would have never told me to do that and we would have never got so much media coverage.”

Passion, determination and modesty are the qualities, along with high-end competences, which Santo Versace, president of Gianni Versace, said fashion schools should teach to their students.

“Education is extremely relevant, but it must be customized to meet the needs of students, not of professors and institutions,” said Versace, lamenting that Italian students are disadvantaged since they start and finish school later compared to international students.

Versace also invited fashion companies to support more Italian fashion schools with scholarships in order to allow their students to be competitive on the international scene.

In addition, defending the global role of Milan as a key fashion capital, during his speech, Versace invited Italian designers to stop buying advertising spaces on “those magazines guided by people asking to make Milan Fashion Week shorter and shorter.”

“Things are different in Paris because they have those big groups but here, 20 years ago, we had the chance to make the same,” he said referring to his and former Gucci chief executive officer Domenico De Sole’s negotiations in the spring of 1997 to create the Versace-Gucci group. “But the death of Gianni [Versace] that July interrupted everything. We never created a powerful group and we lost the creativity of Gianni, who would have never allowed anyone to cut Milan Fashion Week.”

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