Home Course IED Fashion School Seeking Global Expansion in North America – WWD

IED Fashion School Seeking Global Expansion in North America – WWD

IED Fashion School Seeking Global Expansion in North America – WWD

MILAN —Fashion school Istituto Europeo di Design prides its self on offering a teaching approach that is both complementary and opposed to the Anglo-Saxon performance-driven approach.

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Danilo Venturi, a former Polimoda executive recently tapped as director of IED’s Florence unit, is also tasked with spearheading its global expansion and has masterminded a tie-up with Moda Lisboa, the Portugal fashion organizing body, to offer visibility to local talents.

The school counts units in six Italian cities such as Milan, Florence, Rome, Turin and Venice, among others, and has already expanded abroad, running schools in Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao, Spain and in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil.

“IED is a ‘southern’ school, with a teaching model that is opposed and complementary to the Anglo-Saxon one,” Venturi said. Asked to elaborate, he offered that students and content are at the center of the academic offering, rather than the former’s performance.

He described the school’s approach as “humanistic,”It is a firm believer in cross-pollinating and collaboration between the fashion, art, and design departments.

“I’ve always had the same perception about IED before and after joining it. It’s a school that’s out of competition with other academic institutions, with a different positioning, it’s not a ‘ranking’ school,”He disagreed.

The school has already expanded internationally, but some of its competitors are also doing a stronger internationalization. Venturi indicated that IED could also tap into more geographies.

“I don’t rule out that by 2025 the school will expand its footprint in Europe, Asia and America,” he offered, emphasizing IED’s ambition for North America, as part of the school’s 2025 agenda, but keeping further details under wraps.

Apart from opening new units and making acquisitions, he also sees collaboration being a third avenue of expansion that would also support the incomes of foreign talent in existing schools. Collaboration “is a way to generate value for all involved parties, without necessarily relying on commercial pushes. Even if IED is on the market as a [business] entity, it still remains a school,” Venturi said.

IED Firenze’s director Danilo Venturi.

30 percent of the 5,600 students are from outside the United States, India, France, and Australia. Venturi claimed that the school’s international appeal has been affected by the pandemic.


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“My mission is to restart this process and Florence is a pivotal lever,” the executive noted, touting the city’s storied connection with the arts and creativity, as well as its more approachable lifestyle compared to a metropolis where fashion schools are often concentrated. He said that the unit will soon be renovated.

Mindful of evolving trends in fashion education, which need to reflect societal and behavioral transformations, the executive touted IED’s ability to translate them into its syllabuses.

“We don’t draw academic benchmarks but there are trends defining today’s world of creativity,”He said that these are embedded in the academic offerings.

IED Florence unit.

IED Florence unit.
Paolo Cagnacci/Courtesy IED

He highlighted convergence of various fields as the case for art mingling alongside finance and technology within NFTs and creative director combining creativity and management acumen; disintermediation that has valued creator culture, challenging the role of brands, media outlets, and consciousness which goes along with the lines of responsibility & sustainability


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