"GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA": Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara together at Fashion Graduate Italia 2019

Good things often born from cooperation. This is the case of the special project "Glocal - Milan meets Guadalajara" presented on catwalk during the last edition of Fashion Graduate Italia and promoted by Istituto Secoli, University of Guadalajara and many important institutions. A teamwork that involved two Mexican and two Italian students for a capsule collection that mixes the aesthetics and the values of both countries. Here the interview to the protagonists of this fascinating initiative.

4 different points of view, 2 different cultures, 2 worlds separated by an ocean but united by a common project, that of bringing on catwalk something unique. A capsule collection able to mix the aesthetic visions and the personal stories of four young designers coming from ISTITUTO SECOLI and UNIVERSITY OF GUADALAJARA.

An extraordianary occasion to connect different realities in a cooperation from city to city, that involved many important institutions like the Municipaly of Milan, the Municipality of Guadalajara, the Govern of Jalisco, Piattaforma Sistema Formativo Moda, the BID Inter-American Development Bank, the Promoting Council of Innovation and Design of Guadalajara and Jaliscocrea.

Some of the promoters of the project "Glocal - Milan meets Guadalajara", at Fashion Graduate Italia 2019: Giulia Pirovano, President of Piattaforma Sistema Formativo Moda; Roberta Guaineri, Assessor of the Municipality of Milan, Monica Sanchez, Director of International Affairs of the State of Jalisco and Matteo Secoli, President of Istituto Secoli

The innovative pilot project allows to the designers to partecipate to an international collaboration, working together for giving life to a collection that wants to ebhance the folkloristic traditions and the beautiful colors of Mexican culture blended to the skills and the good taste of Italian style. A concept that mixes together the avant-garde shapes of the Western cities expressed through geometrical lines with the artisanal approach and the folk traditions of Mexico, revealing very beautiful fabrics and colors.

One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

To better understand this interesting project that partecipated to Fashion Graduate Italia 2019, I made an inteview with all the protagonists: the Secoli's students Chiara Salviato and Ludovica Rossi, the University of Guadalajara's students Joselyn De Maria Gonzalez and Griselda Mendoza, the Director of international Affairs of the State of Jalisco Monica Sanchez and the Director of Istituto Secoli Matteo Secoli.



One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

This experiment of team working means also a cultural experience. What are the element of a culture so different from your that most impressed you? 
Joselyn: the attitude, the style, the form of see things, Milano has this uniqueness way of working and everything is really big.

Griselda: I think that how fashion being global in both countries there are so many differences and how each one sees it. The opportunities for designers. And how in Italy everything has its own rules to have a recognition and quality on their jobs and products.

Chiara: The things that most impressed me about the Wixarika culture was all this magical atmosphere created by all the believings that these people have like in plants and animals, everything has a meaning, also the colours this was the most important thing that since the beginnig fascinated me. Also the colours are so bright and so "crazy" mixed togheter. We are used to see neutral and dark colours, not only in fashion but also in the cities we live in Mexico is so different, these amazing colours are everywhere, on buildings, on streets, on people clothes... these "colour addiction" amazed me since the first day I was in there.

Ludovica:  the thing that interested me most in Mexican culture was magic. Perhaps it is a missing or weak part in Italian culture. I found the stories of spirits and rituals very interesting and a great respect for the local tribes.

One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

What was your role in the design process? 

Joselyn:  Everyone of us worked alone designing the collection and then we decided the ones that we like. I designed my outfits and then I choose the ones that I like. Later in Milano, with the help of the teachers and the students of Secoli, we finished the collection changing some things like forms or fabrics to make a better runway.

Griselda: I think the one who see the details.

Chiara: I would not talk about my own role in this collection, it has been a team work since the day one. Everyone of us put hers unique "touch" to this collection bringing her ideas and trying to accord them to the others.

Ludovica: My role had a certain weight in the design phase. Certainly the theme had already been identified by the organization but I had to develop and tell about it through moodboards and drawings.

One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

Working in team could be not so easy ar the beginning, especially in this case, in which thousands of kilometers separate you. What were the difficulties and the project? 
Joselyn:  The most difficult part was the communication between us. At the beginning everything was for Skype call and sometimes the internet was not so good, we could not listen correctly or we couldn't express our ideas in the best way but fortunately when we were in Milano the first time, we could make the collection and fix the gaps that we had for the distance.
Griselda: At the beginning it was the confidence betwen us, and the bad internet, because there were so many times that we didn't understand so well. 
Chiara: The main difficulties we had were about the way we talked to each other, via skype and email , every single time  we were missing or misunderstanding something even though the huge amount of emails and messages we exchanged  with each other. When we finally met in July for the first time , we were anxious to fix the puzzle with the missing parts. After the talk we had everything was so clear and we were ready to end the work in a great way.
Ludovica: To be honest the difficulties were not few. Even overcoming the problems of internet connection caused by distance, it was also difficult to understand the different ways of thinking.

One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

How can you describe the inspiration of your collection?

Joselyn: Wixarika culture is one of the most important things in my city because of their art. What we wanted to show is this concept of different colors together and what we tried to do was  to create in every person the same sensation you feel when you see and explosion of color, almost psycodelic that is the same you feel seeing this kind of art.

Griselda: Like a good remix, and saying a remix I mean for everything, remix of cultures, feelings, silhouetttes, thoughts.

Chiara: This collection is inspired by the concept that a metropolitan city like Milano meets an ancient and pure culture like the Wixarika's. This is what Glocal means to me: Global= this project's purpose is to connect cities and cultures from different parts of the world; Local= to me is mostly referred to the Wixarika's culture, to the main characteristics of these people. A little  local reality incorporated in a bigger Global's one.

Ludovica: My inspiration was my strong imagination. Through the photos identified during the design phase and from the stories, my mind traveled to Mexico and imagined a fusion between the world I know and a new one to explore.
One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara



There are many very creative Mexican fashion designers, but not often renowned out of your country. What are the plans of your Government for helping and enhancing their talent?

I’m the Director of International Affairs and one of the thing I’m doing for young designers is to open a link with other States around the world. We will have an expo with our designers in Shanghai Fashion Week in 2020 for example. What happens sometimes is that there’s no continuity from the Government. This is my first year in this position and I’m helping designers creating a platform like your, because we have very good designers, but not linked with the Triple Helix, which is formed by academias, the Government and the industry. Here I saw an opportunity to learn from you, from your platform and the connections you have developed through cooperation. I want to bring this method to Guadalajara. This is just the beginning.

One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

Is this the first experience and then you want to replicate it for your own platform?

Exactly. I can open the doors for Guadalajara and Latin American market. I think this is a win-win situation.

A link of exchange between the two countries?

Yes and so from November 2019 we will invite all the designers who made this collection and other big Mexican designers to Guadalajara to watch what we we are doing, to partecipate in the future.

I’ve seen in the collection many hancrafted fabrics. For the development of the economy in your country, is craftsmanship important? The artisans will be involved too in this project of platform?

Yes, I believe in the power of craftsmanship. One of our Government’s project is to develop the regions where most of the artisans live, not just the cities. Many designers around the world come and copy what we do, but no money come to our artisans. So we want to create an atelier in the capital first to bring artisans from the state to link them with designers, creating a business and exporting this ideas.

One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

For helping the artisans improve their conditions?

Yes and for doing this we need the designers, who visit our country and see that the many things we made are beautiful. We don’t know the trends of fashion market, so we need the designers, for creating a link between the market and the artisans.

In Mexico there are many fashion schools often oriented to European market, but not connected each other. In Italy we have Fashion Graduate Italia that helps all the fashion schools in terms of visibility. Is there something similar in your country or do you want to extend  the project of platform to fashion schools?

Actually the Mexican fashion schools have small occasions to present their final collections. For the 13 academias we have in the city we don’t have anything similar to Fashion Graduate Italia.  With Sara Galindo, who works for the Mercedes Fashion Week in Mexico City, we want to make an annual fashion week for young talents. At the beginning it will be very small, but it will be in August or Septemper every year, because we have already the event “Mariachi International Festival” and in this period a lot of people come to Guadalajara as visitors from other countries. Jaliscocrea is already a brand, but what we need is the umbrella to connect all the events. So every year young talents from all the cities can promote themselves there.

One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

Do you have other projects of partnership with Italy? And what do you think about Made in Italy?

No, this is the first partnership. I think you are great in the savoir-faire, you have a very nice quality of finishing, in the way you refine fabrics and the technical parts. This for me is a synonym of perfection. that is what represents Italy. Quality in the finishing.

And in terms of style?

There are things that I will never use, of course, but I like it. I was here for the fashion week in February and I really liked what I saw. You are classy, elegant in many ways. Maybe we can bring to you colors, because you have too much black. I think that it could be a good combination, as in this collection, classy and elegant but with a lot of colors and stories to tell from our country. Probably this is what we need each other.

What do you think about the talents coming from our fashion schools?

They have very different styles and methods. I think it’s good because you allow them to be very creative event though some things are extreme, but this is good, because they are young. This is perfect for the show. And I think you have students’ skills of high quality. I understood that in Mexico we need to increase the quality in the organization, compared to what you’ve done here.

One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

How is the Mexican style?

I think we are conservative in style. Classy. I was in the fashion week in Mexico City and Benito Santos is enhacing a new style, very modern. What I want from my designers is not copying what others do in Europe, but to find their own way, to find their identity. We have all the colors, all the stories, all the civilizations, ready for being brought in fashion design. This is what I want to see in my young designers.

So transforming your heritage in something very stylish? This is a very big and interesting challenge.

Yes and this is coming, you’ll see.

Values like cooperation, collaboration and partnership are important for your Government in the realtionship with other countries? Do you believe in this kind of values?

In cooperation yes, of course. For me is more important the process than the result. I’ve seen the change in the students coming here and viceversa, experiencing different cultures, different ways of viewing things. This is the richness of this project. We believe in values, that our young people need to have different tools for their creativity, to develop employment and then to create economy. So these values are very important to us.

One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara



How was born this beautiful initiative of a common project for mixing different elements, as the colors of Center America and the skills of Secoli's students?
This is an initiative born from the exchange between cities, from the Municipality of Milan, the city of Guadalajara and the State of Jalisco and their desire of collaboration making somthing corete focused on young designers. They asked to Piattaforma Sistema Formativo Moda, that is the association of the most important Italian fashion schools, and from this everything started bringing us direcly to the fashion show we've just seen and that will have a second step at Guadalajara in November.
Two girls form your school and two from the University of Guadalajara created a team a bit different from the usual. They mixed different languages, made travels between Mexico and Italy. How was their experience with this new kind of team?
Very goo, especially when they had a direct contact. Most of this work was made on remote, but in July the Mexican students came here for 10 days for fusing the 4 different ideas of collection. Even if everything was born from the same brief., the Mexicans and the italians made their own research of materials. In those 10 days we unified the collection. In three months we made many conference calls, but only in that moment we had a real union btween two cultures.
 For example the perception we have of color is very different. Being together and understand each other was an adventure. Our students went there in September, when the garments were taking shapes and needed defects corrections, in a moment of final fitting of the prototypes we've just seen on catwalk. It's really beautiful to join the cultures, to make not only a technical work, but also cultural. Our students visited the Mexican museums, understanding their artistic world. The two Mexican students came here during Milano Unica, having the opportunity of seeing what is Milan and its fashion, with its systems and
One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

The girls had the occasion of living the local cultures and traditions, understanding their different heritages. We have seen on runway, besides of the colors, many handcrafted fabrics. Are they part of these stories?
Yes, handmade by the Mexican artisans. For us was interesting to exchange the students and to coordinate and guide them. With the Municipalities of Milan and Guadalajara and the State of Jalisco, we had the interest that this initiative could involve the territory, giving a work to these artisans who create these beautiful woven fabrics, a kind of big scarves. But one thing is the folk clothing, another is something conceptual and creative that you can bring on catwalk. 
This was a challenge we won all together, the studetns, the institutions and the Secoli's staff. The best would be creating something repeatable in time, to give the opportunity to these populations to produce small collections.

Giving life to a virtuous system that could help designers and artisans?
Exactly. On one side there will be the girls who can finally become real designers and n the other there will be someone who can finally work.
One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

Istituto Secoli is very famous for the patternmaking techniques, among the best fashion schools in this subject. How much the pattern was important in the passage from ethnical garment to an absolutely fashionable product?
First of all thanks for the compliment. Is not so easy to explain something that is so simple in reality. The modelling is the grammar, as the tailoring is the abc, if you don't know them you can be a poet. The trainin in patternmaking is the basis, is the grammar of fashion. Understanding it is fundamental. It's a complicate subject, because it's geometry and maths, but ita allows you to build everything you want to make. Withouth the grammar, your could remain only a concept, an abstract idea. Undoubtedly in this initiative the patternmaking allows to the students to express what they wanted and this is for us our great goal. 
Our Master courses are not about fashion design, but about modelling, because only in this way a student manages to bring on catwalk a project entirely controlled by himself, perfectly knowing the entire process. Fashion is a process, not something that magically appears from a sketch or a material or a pattern. At the end of the process we have a dress made of a series of contents. The real designer is someone who, when starts with the project, is able to assume what he want at the end, managing resources and people who work for him and reaching the target, making also a serious critics on his own work. 
That is like the great designers of the past did, those who made the fashion from 1900 to 1960. They were tailors, they used their hands and then, becoming famous, they were able to guide and manage the people of their team. You can't think to draw something and then someone else realizes it for you. It means loosing the high meaning of fashion, of making something original. Of making something beautiful and well done not copied from ideas or volumes or materials already used by someone else.
One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

The patternmaking allows a designer to start from the shape to elaborate other things in a totally creative and sometime unexpected manner. Who doesn't know the modelling techniques has limits regarding the practicability of his ideas. Is it true?
Yes, he can abandon his ideas thinking they are not realizable, maybe because the patternmaker with whom he works doesn't want to make a deep experimentation and abandons the idea. Having common language with the people who work for you means to create a dialogue, allowing you to make experience. This is patternmaking.

In this fashion show and also in the Secoli Fashion Show last June we've seen many collaborations, like Moncler before and now with Mexico. Have you similar plans for the future?
We arre closing very beautiful collaborations, one very big with a Chinese company. China is a continent, hard to understand if you don't live it. Now it's a big reality for training and production. Chinese companies start to understand that Italian training and Made in Italy have something different, qualities and skills tha are only here. This is a great opportunity. 
Now we used to think about Italian fashion only as something that brought its productions abroa. We did it, especially after the 90s when the borders were opened, but compared to other we were able to maintain a quite big nucleus of knowledges, good taste and refinery. The world is becoming aware of this. That is impossible to bring out the knowledges and the skills, because this is Italy. Taking advantage of this is possible and this initiative goes on this direction, building bridges of connection with the world allowing us to go everywhere.
One of the outfits of the collection "GLOCAL - MILAN MEETS GUADALAJARA" made by the students of Istituto Secoli and University of Guadalajara

You have many students coming from East and also an headquarter in China. How is your approach with this reality?
Many of our students come from Asia, Korea, Japan and especially China.. China has incomparable numbers. Almost two billions of people with almost the half part that is rich or wealthy. A world very difficult to understand, also in terms of dimensions, if you don't live it. We shouldn't being scared from it, but we should look at it, uderstand its complexity, its mentality completely different from the ours, its very diverse processes. In many aspects they are ahead of us, for others they are hundreds years behind us. Being able of having a constructive dialogue for me is a positive thing and something from which to take advantage.

Thanks to all the partecipants to this long and interesting interview!
Continue reading The Fashion Propellant...Soon the report of the Istituto Secoli's fashion show and of the other fashion school at Fashion Graduate Italia. Stay tuned!