Mutating Contexts in Professional Practice within the Fashion Industry
The ‘practice’ of Fashion in an increasingly global scenario, which is at the same time extremely diversified both in conceptual and productive terms, represent a crucial point in the analysis of the state of the art of the system faced by the four Western poles.
The Italian experience in the whole manufacturing process, from the concept to production and distribution represents a case of its own if compared to the British, French or US cases; it is a reality, which after some critical seasons, is now living a new rebirth.
From the educational system substantial differences arise in conceiving what is not just a profession related to the design of clothes, but to a wider vision of the project. Within this scenario, we can see that due to local factors, the educational world approaches the theme with different modalities. Compared to France, Italy has always been considered the capital of Prêt à Porter and not of Haute Couture; compared to the US, Italy has produced a market more related to formal brands and not casual or sportswear and compared to the UK it is considered less creative and more related to the final product and to the market. Even though these assertions are partly true, they are generic simplifications and what I reckon it is important to analyse is the approach to the entire system seen from the inside within the individual realities.
In the current complex phase of the fashion system – globalization and delocalization, new markets, intensification of proposals, etc. – it is important to investigate how the poles of luxury and of fashion are approaching the creative process, especially what this process is about today.
Being still radicated into the productive system, the Italian approach is about developing creative abilities also at the entrepreneurial level in order to create wider proposals, not only the development of an idea, of a concept to create collections.
This approach become more and more relevant when applied to the menswear industry where fashion practice is strictly linked to market and to a wardrobe concept.
The Italian case - from the development of the manufacturing process and of the Made in Italy to the current crisis and emerging rebirth - together with the educational and methodological expertise can provide the appropriate stimuli to define the state of the art of the system and to animate a confronting debate on its future.