Even though you’d think that we would be exploring Florence everyday and traveling all over Europe, the reality of being a design student is having to work most of the time and not have all the free time we really wish we had. Schoolwork is an important part of everyday life here but we are lucky enough to be able to study at a lovely school in such an amazing city. The main campus, Villa Favard, is absolutely breathtaking: every surface is coated in white and gold carvings that all reflect off the mirrored walls and you can’t help but look up at the marvelous paintings on every ceiling. Here, we have all of our history, art, and Italian courses while the classes that require sewing machines and larger rooms are held at the new design lab in Scandicci.
Once a week, we Fashion Design 2 students hop on the tram to take the quick 20 minute ride to the design lab where we will be staying for basically the entire day. The draping class is seven hours long, which may sound daunting but actually goes by rather quickly as we get lost in our work and the class ends before we know it.
We recently took a trip to a fabric warehouse with our draping professor and, amidst a sea of fabric rolls, we hunted for materials to use for our term garments and other two final projects. Unlike in New York, there aren’t any affordable fabric stores in Florence so we had to make the most of this visit while we were there. Also, there is absolutely no way to get swatches here besides the small swatch room in the design lab so I highly advise incoming students to bring as many of them as possible!
Living in Florence has its perks for us Fashion Design students because this is the city where Italian fashion really got its roots and high fashion is still an important part of Florentine society today. When our teachers send us out to do market research, all it takes is a quick walk over to Via de’ Tornabuoni to see the latest pieces from Ferragammo, Gucci, Armani, Pucci, and many of the other famous Italian designer brands that we all know so well. In our Fashion Art and Design class, we have been learning about Italian brands and focusing on themes such as the shows at Palazzo Pitti in the 1950s and Elio Fiorucci’s ready-to-wear empire in the ‘80s for design inspiration. There are so many amazing Italian designers and so much history here in Florence that I had never known about before and it is interesting to see how this part of Italian culture differs from what we learned about in New York.
Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully I haven’t scared anyone off by writing about the workload we have here – don’t worry, we still find some time to explore Florence and experience new things in the city!