I’m corresponding with Elisa Pasceri who lives in Rome. I don’t normally share all of my correspondence but I told Miracle about it and she thought you’d be interested in reading it (she is). Some of what Elisa had to say surprised me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t you think that the conditions for launching a line in Italy to be better than in North America? With the Italian reputation for craftsmanship, wouldn’t you think their schools and internship possibilities to be better? In her first message to me, Elisa explains she’s trying to launch a site similar to F-I :
I came across your amazing website, it shows a striking amount of professional experience, congratulations! That’s what is missing here in Italian fashion,where the Internet is still used as a mere copy of the magazines advertising. [I have] the goal of creating a community of professionals in the fashion fields. After the technical stuff, I’m finally able to showcase designers’ creations and insert my own articles and guide. I’m still learning myself, but I’d like to share the experience I had so far and the skills I got. And I really hope to be able to attract professionals to my web site and make them share their knowledge to the community of eager young designers, generally disappointed by fashion schools education!
I expressed my surprise at her frustrations with the educational system there, telling her that over here, we think they’re the experts. If anything, having the time and money, we’d happily traipse over there to learn from the masters. I did try to interest her in a book swap; I don’t have any Italian drafting books. This is what she had to say in her last email this morning:
As an ex-fashion student myself, I’m experiencing a lot of frustration. After living in London for a while, I came back to Rome, where I tried to set up my own brand of plus size clothing. After a while I had to acknowledge that either I had a lot of money to outsource everything or I had good cutting and sewing skills, which I thought I had after my 2 year full time fashion design academy.
I mean, I’m well aware of the fact that once the school is over you still have so much to learn you can’t even imagine, but after investing a lot of money and energies in pattern making and sewing classes, you expect to be able to sew at least some prototypes to show to distributors or sales rep. Well, the method I’ve been taught is so old fashioned and haute couture that it takes ages to sew even the simplest a-line skirt. It might be the most perfect and precious thing on earth, but how marketable is it? On top of that, almost no education in technologies, such as Photoshop or Illustrator, let alone CAD/CAM softwares. What else? No internship during school years or afterwards, even if it was clearly stated in the course programme. Not to mention the lack of marketing and business education.
So, no wonder that industries don’t care about your fashion diploma, you barely know what a seam allowance is. There’s no connection between school and daily life work techniques in the industry, not even the same language. In my school we used so many french words that nobody uses anymore (i think not even in France).
Professionals are just great. The quality of the final output is obvious, hence the fame of Made in Italy production! Thing is, they are not very keen in sharing and transmitting their skills to young designers and recruiting is often via friend of a friend rather than via agencies or classifieds…
Well, this isn’t a very encouraging situation, isn’t? Whereabout in the US you live? Is it very different?
Ok, thanks once again for your kindness and sorry for my english and for the length of the email!! Hope to hear soon from you.
Funny how it really isn’t any different over here, is it? For all we know, maybe the Italians think we’re business or some other kind of experts. The grass isn’t always greener…We should ask her about fabrics. They must have access to better stuff, we’ve seen it.