By Katharine Dorny
Program Coordinator, Global Fashion Management
In the Fall of 2019, Global Fashion Management at FIT officially marked the beginning of our partnership with CENTRO in Mexico City by welcoming fourteen students, along with two of their professors, from the inaugural CENTRO cohort to the New York Seminar in September. In CENTRO’s joining of GFM, a fourth semester has been added to the GFM curriculum and our FIT cohort will travel to Mexico City for an international seminar during their final semester in spring 2022.
CENTRO was founded in Mexico City in 2004 as an institution for film, television, and digital media. Since then they have expanded to include a variety of design disciplines, art, and business at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Most recently, they will be launching Mexico’s first postgraduate program in Food Design and Innovation, starting in January of 2021. CENTRO’s main philosophy as an institution revolves around, as they say, furthering the “professionalization of creativity.” With a focus on research, innovation, and working with industry partners, CENTRO’s pedagogical concept mirrors that of FIT. Student work has been internationally recognized through institutions such as MOMA, the Venice Film Festival, Wanted Design NYC, and the D&AD Student Awards in London. Domestically, they participate in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Mx, Design Week Mx, and Abierto Mexicano de Diseño.
In identifying CENTRO’s faculty, co-founder and CENTRO President Gina Diez Barroso de Franklin said, “We think it’s very important to teach by example.” Faculty for the Global Fashion Management program at CENTRO come from industry. They represent business owners, founders, CEOs, creative directors, and consultants, and are experts from careers in branding, manufacturing, public relations, management, and design. In addition, the faculty includes researchers and PhDs, helping students navigate research projects with critical thinking and innovation. Guest speakers are prominently featured in the curriculum and students have learned from executives representing companies such as Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Kate Spade, and Fabletics.
CENTRO’s campus, designed by Enrique Norten, is the only campus in Mexico with LEED Platinum certification. The unconventional and intriguing design of the campus- with its green roofs, recycled materials, eccentric crisscrossing lines, and expansive windows- is a natural incubator for inspiring design students. Sustainability is a key tenet of the GFM curriculum at CENTRO, as it is at FIT.
GFM students find each international seminar provides an entirely unique experience as we travel across countries and continents, and the Mexico City Seminar will be no different. The Mexico City Seminar will offer students an opportunity to understand the apparel industry from the perspective of Mexican and Latin American culture, in a country where contemporary design, modern manufacturing and legacy converge. Topics will include heritage as a tool to build new opportunities, local versus global production, new developments and innovation in the creative industries, and inspiration from other forward-thinking fields in the country such as the food industry where there’s an important alignment with weaving materials and natural dyes. Classroom lectures will focus on trade and tariffs, the impact and operation of grey economies, and innovations in sustainability, as well as opportunities to engage with experts from across the university to understand the value that is created through a transdisciplinary approach to fashion.
Site visits will include some of the country’s most relevant manufacturing and craftsmanship sites, such as traditional textile making in Oxaca and Puebla, denim production in Torreón, or footwear and leather good manufacturing in León and Guadalajara. Likewise, non-fashion related site visits will help students better understand Mexico’s cultural production.
We are looking forward to FIT’s first Mexico City Seminar in the spring of 2022.