One of my favorite classes at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti) is Fashion Accessory Design. Last semester, I learned about textiles and designed and constructed a gym bag through a studio course at R.I.T. This course opened my eyes to the world of soft goods and is one of the reasons why I decided to pursue this interest at NABA.
Throughout the semester, I’ll be designing nine shoes and three bags for the Gucci brand. The structure of the class is set up so that various teachers instruct the class at different points in the semester to share their specific industry expertise. Our first teacher taught us about how shoes are constructed; reviewed the many types of men’s and women’s shoes; and helped us create a customer profile, brand identity, and mood board for our collection. For the next class, a different teacher will come in and teach us how to draw bags and shoes. I’m excited about learning new drawing techniques and expanding my “Industrial Design” drawing style.
Outside of the classroom, we’ve taken full advantage of living in Milan. Last class, we went to the MICAM International Footwear Fair (this was about a 40 minute commute by metro). Hundreds of booths filled seven large fair buildings, each dedicated to different footwear categories. I saw buyers and sellers interacting and by the end, I was able to identify the trends that were common among the products in each booth. I saw my first fashion show, which was held in a circular room with a 360 degree projection screen. Works and images were projected in sync with the upbeat music and catwalk. The whole experience was thoughtfully designed. When “DESIGN MATTERS” scrolled across the screen, it hit me that I was in a room full of people that value design as much as I do.
I did in-store research in Milan at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, home to Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and the original Prada. Looking at these extravagant window displays, store interiors, and luxury products inspired me.
While on a weekend trip to Florence with the SAI girls, we visited the Gucci Museo. We were able to see all of the various fashion, homegoods, automotive, and bag collections from Gucci since their founding. This beautiful museum gave me a lot of ideas for my own collection.
This Thursday I will be attending the Lineapelle International Exhibition of Leather, Accessories, and Fabrics (which is free to NABA students!). My teacher described this as one of the most important fairs for accessories, because it reveals the trends for summer 2018.
Every day I am amazed by all of the design opportunities that are available to me because I am a NABA student living in Milan. This Fashion Accessory Design class has taught the importance of studying Fashion trends and has shown me how these trends dictate trends in other areas of design. As an Industrial Design student, this class has exposed me to areas I wouldn’t normally have access to and has given me a new perspective on design.
Elizabeth is a spring 2017 SAI Milan (NABA) student from Rochester Institute of Technology.