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5 questions to Barbara Franchin, founder and director of ITS Arcademy

By Esther Hut

Mar 16, 2020


The International Talent Support has confirmed that it has found a new home within the palace of Fondazione CRTrieste, where its ITS Arcademy, a space for creativity will open to coincide with the 20th edition of ITS in July 2021.

Arcademy encompasses and sums up the core elements of the mission envisaged by ITS: Archive, Arc and Academy, with the aim of providing a “dynamic and lively space” where former finalists, jurors and the contest’s international network will have an active space for exchange and development for innovators.

FashionUnited spoke to ITS founder Barbara Franchin about the ITS Arcademy.

Can you please tell a bit more about the idea of creating the ITS Arcademy?

“Two decades of development and transformation are leading us from ITS - a platform to support young creativity - to ITS Arcademy, the natural evolution of our journey: a global training ground for creativity, a formative, research space not just open to professionals but to all curious experimenters, from young to old people. It was a natural step that triggered us to present our unique creative archive - a history of fashion evolution - which represents its solid foundations. The name itself combines three words describing what the Arcademy will be. Archive, or the Art of Archiving to preserve for future generations. Ark, where all species are collected and diversity is embraced. Academy, a place for all ages to exchange knowledge, research, and inspire each other.”

Does the Arcademy also offer courses for students?

”ITS Arcademy will be a physical and digital destination involving wide and varied audiences through exhibitions and educational opportunities. Workshops, courses and tailored events will explore the world of creativity at large in collaboration with local and global partners. There will be two different levels for courses and workshops. ‘Pop’ ones will be dedicated to elementary, middle and high school students, tourists and the local community. ‘Pro’ ones will be for insiders from the industry, companies and up-and-coming designers. To highlight the importance of circularity former finalists will come back as teachers: when they first approached ITS they were students, now they will be the source of knowledge, passion and experience for the next generation.”

What’s the goal of ITS Arcademy?

”Our goal with ITS Arcademy is to create an inclusive meeting space for talents, innovators, professionals, students as well as anyone who is simply interested or passionate about creativity. Cross-contamination is what we want to achieve. Exchanging experiences, ideas, visions and skills, embracing a constant dialogue between different declinations of creativity, connecting the worlds of fashion, arts, cinema and design. ITS Arcademy will also be on a quest for responsible creativity, strongly focusing on the application of sustainability to play an active part in the crucial transformation of the fashion sector.”

Arcademy also houses the ITS Creative Archive, featuring portfolios, outfits, accessories and jewellery pieces, and photographs. How did you collect this?

”Research has always been at the core of our mission, spotting creativity and talent all over the planet. But from the very beginning we knew we also wanted to physically store what we found, to document the evolution of young creativity throughout the years. Since the first edition of ITS in 2002 we’ve kept every single portfolio we received and collected pieces from every finalist: over 240 outfits, 125 accessories, 86 jewellery pieces and more than 700 photography projects. Seeds blossomed in a fully-blown tree, endlessly branching out to describe the infinite expressions of creativity. The ITS Creative Archive is an open laboratory on the future of creativity allowing a conversation between design, industry and innovation.”

When will the Arcademy open?

”The opening is scheduled for July 2021. We will celebrate our 20th anniversary, symbolically connecting our journey up to now with this new, untrodden path. The home of ITS Arcademy is an historical palace in the center of Trieste, owned by Fondazione CRTrieste which has believed in our activity from the very beginning, offering these prestigious spaces to host our new project. I also would like to underline the ongoing support from our territorial institutions, Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Municipality of Trieste. The link with our territory is strong, vitally important in allowing us to exist in these last two decades. We’ve always been geographically rooted, while keeping all our senses alert and open on the whole world.”

Images: provided by ITS