The future of Italian fashion schools after Covid-19: Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera

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What’s happening to the best Italian fashion schools with the pandemic of Coronavirus? To answer this important question we asked to schools’ Directors and Teachers their opinion, what they did in this period and some informations to help aspiring fashion designers in the important choice of an educational path in fashion world. Today we speak about Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera.

Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan

Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera is one of the anciest Italian universities and feather in the cap of our artistic educational system since 1776. In the last years its Fashion Department is becoming even more important and the students even more interesting in terms of cutting-edge approach and creative research.

Every year I’m really surprised by the high technical level reached by the Brera’s students and I’ve noted many new genuine talents coming from this fashion academy.

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Antonio Corposanto, student of Accademia Brera, at work into the school

As the majority of the Italian fashion schools, during the period of lockdown caused by Covid-19 and the subsequent crisis, Brera was forced to close the doors of classes and labs and had to reinvent the educational method to meet the needs of the students. Well, there’s a bit of silver lining also in the pandemic, and also from this sad story can come some new opportunities.

To better know how Brera faced the emergency, we asked an interview to Francesca Liberatore, important Italian fashion designer who usually presents her collections during the Milan or New York Fashion Week and teacher of the Fashion Design courses at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan.

Francesca Liberatore, fashion designer and teacher at Accademia Brera and Naba

Covid-19 totally changed the normal routine of students, teachers and fashion schools. You teach at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. How did you continue the work with your students during this long period of emergency?

I think the most important thing was making them don’t feel apart, stuck without purposes, they are young and active with their hopes in exposure and final year to progress in their carreer and I didn’t want to stop this. So quite the opposite, we get closer we had chats and reviews anytime needed using whatsup and wetransfer, we spoke a lot about the situation, I organised for them instagram live with a lot of fashion professionals that gave to them their time and knowledge.

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Students at work at Accademia Brera

As well to solve the lack of a final show I create the relation with another great University Marist College from NewYork where I collaborate. The project called “Insieme” demonstrates that although they are separated physically, these students are creatively connected through their shared passion.

Even in times of challenge, these future fashion leaders are committed to sharing their message and the importance of community and creativity. The effort culminated in the first live fashion show on YouTube with a pre talk and a post virtual party including creation of fb and inst account and international press coordination curated from the american students.

The project “Insieme Creiamo” by Accademia Brera and Marist College on Instagram

I know that the academy is bringing forward a special project in collaboration with Marist College. Can you tell us something more about it?

This international collaboration, first and for the moment unique, has allowed students far away by geographic area, different in their study path and physically separated, to remain creatively connected and create a single reality.

Produced and branded by the Marist College, Fashion University of New York, “Insieme” presented the works of the talented undergraduates of the Fashion Design course of the Accademia Belle Arti di Brera in Milan guided by their shared passion for artistic expression.

It was natural for me to create this artistic bridge between my students from Brera and the students of the Marist, a prestigious American company with which I have the pleasure of collaborating for.

Marist College (left) and Accademia Brera (right), together for the project “Insieme Creiamo”

I wished that the new generations would not experience this period as an arrest of possibility but as constructive of opportunity, both had to have stimuli to continue expressing their creativity during the lockdown and to remain connected with their dreams, carrying on their plans for the future.

“Together Together” was more than a fashion show: it was a creative collaboration between two countries that at this historic moment share difficulties and passions.
Ambitious Fashion University Students Unite to Develop an Innovative, Virtual Experience Attracting a Global Audience. 35 Merchandising Students. 10 Graduate Designer Students. 2 Schools from 2 Countries to launch 1 Passion Project.

How the educational method could be improved for the future thanks to digitalization?

They are the new generation and it’s good that they start to face new media, methods, possibilities. This will open up their mind even more by forcing them to deal with unpredicted situations and solve them. As teacher the harder step was to pass them the same energy and strenght and empathy trought a screen but also I enjoyed to bring international guests thougth my inst live to put the students in relation with people that really have a lot to share and that probably would not have been possible in person from NY, London, Paris…

When we’ll finally return to school in autumn, everything will be different with social distancing. What are the plans of your fashion school for combining the need of security to a good training that necessarily requests a physical contact?

Most of our theorethical disciplines will continue online so we can organise the space for laboratories mainly, Brera is a huge institution with a lot of disciplines and schools inside , around 5000 people so they are working hard to prepare a timetable with turnations running in the most efficent way

How will change the graduate collections presentations? Do you believe in digital fashion shows?

I really admire all the experimentations that my students are testing cooperating with different departments and exploring new media. We have to transfer them a way to be able to think differently, this is what a creative does by undetstanding contemporary and translating with new way. I try to say that this is not just because of covid but is instead a social change and those are the changes that fashion need to interpretate as always with culture, sensitivity, comunication.

What will be the future of Italian fashion schools? What they should do for surviving to the crisis?

They need to be apdated, evolving using the culture that they meant to pass. We are the lucky one cause in creativity most of things are allowed in problem solving !

How are the perspectives of emerging brands?

This is a time of challenge, a lot of new opportunities, cause everything need to change, great ideas are on top, that is why i push my students and myself, we are faster, frescher, flexible and the surprises are what let our imagination go!

Can you give some advices to a young aspiring designer who wants to enroll a fashion school in this particular moment?

Education, technics, brain construction, methods of work, self-discipline, interactions with others are important, this is why the school need to be there to form and open their eyes, more than ever they need desire and amusement on what they do to be open and receptive to everything around them

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