Una passione per la moda: Studying fashion in Italy

In January, five Bachelor of Communication students travelled to Florence, Italy for a short course in fashion media and communication.

Jemma Baddock dishes about work experience at Florence Fashion Week and studying at the European Institute of Design.

The Duomo Cathedral's dome in Florence, Italy
Duomo Cathedral, Florence

When the two words ‘study’ and ‘university’ are first mentioned in a sentence, us students tend to zone out and completely disregard the words that follow. However, in this article I am going to throw the words ‘Italy’, ‘fashion’ and ‘exchange’ into the equation… now we have a sentence that I’m sure looks desirable and exciting to many of you!

After first hearing the words “fashion and new media in communication” at a lecture announcement, I knew this was the course for me! My eyes lit up as the offer became even more inviting after discovering the four-week course would take place in Florence, Italy.

After applying to this short course program with AIM Overseas I was overcome with excitement, however, that excitement quickly turned into nerves as the dream became reality and the acceptance letter arrived.

Original Gucci dresses worn to the Oscars at the Gucci Museum
Original Gucci dresses worn to the Oscars at the Gucci Museum

I had never lived or studied overseas before. What if the work was too hard? What if I got too homesick?

I had to push these thoughts to the back of my mind and focus on acknowledging and welcoming this amazing opportunity that had been given to me. After all, isn’t it every girl’s dream to study and have practical experience in fashion, not to mention at Florence Fashion Week?

The country is wrapped in astonishing history and architecture from head to toe

Before I knew it, January had arrived and my call to board the plane was upon me.

Landing in Italy seemed so surreal to me. The country is wrapped in astonishing history and architecture from head to toe; the culture is fascinating and embedded in traditional values. The people radiate happiness and a welcoming charm; the Tuscan views extend beyond breathtaking. This was a place I never wanted to leave… don’t even get me started on the food!

The lecturers… styled in the latest winter fashion, adorning the latest Chanel accessory, with an exotic Italian accent

The first day of the course was here. I made my way through the small cobblestone streets of Florence and arrived at an unexpectedly modern door of the European Institute of Design.

The school was small, yet ultra modern and chic compared to the ancient architecture surrounding us. The lecturers were everything I had imagined them to be: styled in the latest winter fashion, adorning the latest Chanel accessory, with an exotic Italian accent.

The first week of class had me intrigued and writing notes frantically, hoping to absorb every piece of fascinating information told to me.

I learnt about the complex Italian fashion system, the traditional Italian designers such as Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace, the art of fashion photography, and the secrets to success in fashion blogging and styling. I could never have dreamed I would be receiving such valuable information and history from people of such status and recognition in the fashion industry.

To be welcomed into fashion workshops of family businesses and engage with the owners was an experience money couldn’t buy

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Male models backstage at the Stella Jean runway show

The practical experience was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Working backstage at Florence Fashion Week for Stella Jean was one thing, but to help dress the beautiful male models was on a completely different level!

Being able to visit some of the most renowned designer museums, such as Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo, was an experience that I will always remain grateful for. To be welcomed into fashion workshops of family businesses and engage with the owners was an experience money couldn’t buy.

I now feel like I have found a second home in Italy, and an even greater passion and desire for work in the fashion industry. Living and learning in a foreign environment is the most valuable experience one can take from their university years!

Interested in study a short course or semester aboard?
The university’s International Office can guide you through the process.
Find out more information here

Images: Jemma Baddock

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