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Fashion School Q&A: Accademia Costume & Moda

By Esther Hut


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Founded in 1964 and headquartered in Rome Accademia Costume & Moda (ACM) is ranked among the Top 3 Fashion Schools in the world for the combined Undergraduate and Graduate Fashion Design categories. Alessandro Michele, Creative Director of Gucci, and Frida Giannini are alumni from ACM. FashionUnited recently spoke to Adrien Roberts, International Director of Education at Accademia Costume & Moda to discuss the type of courses the college offers, the impact of Covid-19, and the future plans of the institute.

How has the transition from in-house to remote learning been for the school and students?

Well, it's been an interesting journey, and to be honest in most parts a very positive one. We have been able to build remote learning but in a blended manner, so the students still have a practical experience, with all the necessary health precautions in place, with us on-site, which is fundamental to the Accademia experience.

How would you describe the Accademia Costume & Moda student community?

The answer has changed, post-Covid experience. I had not realized how resilient they are to change, and how their true interest in learning can overcome obstacles. They have generated some of the best work during these difficult times.

Generally, our students are quite a united community coming from all over the world and when possible, enjoy mixing with students on other courses and at different levels.

What kind of courses does Costume & Moda offer? What is the focus area?

Accademia Costume & Moda offers a wide and rich academic offer that includes undergraduate and postgraduate programs that explore the areas that represent the best of "Made in Italy" in fashion design, communication, and performing arts industries.

Traditionally, we have been known for our unique Bachelor of Arts in Costume and Fashion which embodies the two souls of ACM and the essential pillars of our culture. The Rome campus houses the creative-practical courses that explore the various areas of Fashion and Costume Design along with Fashion Communication (Bachelor of Arts in Costume & Fashion, Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Editor Styling & Communication, Master in Alta Moda (Italian Couture) in collaboration with Valentino, Accessories Design in collaboration with Fendi and Ferragamo, Fabrics Innovation Design in collaboration with the best manufacturers in Made in Italy, Creative Knitwear Design in partnership with Modateca Deanna and in collaboration with more than 80 companies specialized in knitwear).

The newly opened Milan campus focuses on the areas of Communication and Design Management for Fashion and Performing Arts with the Masters in Fashion Communication & Art Direction in partnership with Giorgio Armani, Slowear and Fasten Seat Belt, Master in Fashion Sustainability & Industry Evolution in partnership with Salvatore Ferragamo, Bonaudo and Project Officina Creativa, the Master in Creative Direction for the Performing Arts and the Undergraduate three-year programs in Fashion Design Management and Fashion Editor Styling & Communication.

What do we need to know about Accademia Costume & Moda?

Founded in 1964, Accademia Costume & Moda has a long tradition in educating professionals for the Fashion, Performing Arts, Communication and Management, qualifying itself in the years as a center of excellence for its didactic method and today is among the 3 best fashion schools in the world for its three-year courses and masters in Fashion Design according to the “The Best Fashion Schools in the World 2019″of The Business Of Fashion (BoF).

Our links with the industry are outstanding. We are very grateful to all our partners which are more than 150 now that support our student's learning with talks, sponsorship, and most importantly the industry-linked projects which are key assets to the ACM learning experience.

Overall, our students benefit from around 30 annual projects annually across all courses in collaboration with the best companies and Maison. This also helps us place our graduates with excellent work opportunities in all forms and areas following graduation.

We are a family-owned academy, which puts student experience at the center of all our activities.

What are the plans for this year? Any new things coming up?

Things are shaken up a little this year, so our final exhibitions and showtimes for the student's final projects are different. The students of the Master in Creative Knitwear Design made a collaborative film with Pitti Fillati, instead of a show. Our undergraduates will show in the summer, while normally we call the Talents to show in January, the other Masters will be showing their work in October in Milan.

This year we are opening a new campus, a decision beyond brave, in Milan will enable us to curate our new extraordinary space in the center of Milan with an ongoing exhibition that will take the viewer on a journey across all our courses and most importantly the design thinking and processes behind our students work.

We are what our students produce through their learning and experimentation and it's within the Accademia heritage and DNA that we always display and celebrate the work of our students.

Do you have any tips for future students who want to study at Accademia Costume & Moda?

Be culturally curious, have an informed opinion.

Research the creative industries well and look for a course that suits your learning requirements and career expectations.

Be well informed before you interview and be prepared to work hard in a dedicated manner.

Accademia Costume & Moda also recently launched a new Master program called “Fashion Communication & Art Direction”.

Are there certain requirements for this course?

Naturally, there are certain requirements for course admissions, but our admissions team is available to talk each student through the requirements. We are here to help start the learning experience for a career and we gladly give advice and how to make that reality.

In order to keep the quality of the training experience high, to access it, it is necessary to pass an admission process based on Previous learning, CV evaluation, Letter of Motivation, and an Admission interview with the Academic Direction.

How would you describe this course?

The course is currently in partnership with, and counts of an illustrious Scientific committee which includes Sara Sozzani Maino (Deputy Editor of Vogue Italia and Head of Vogue Talents) and Antonio Mancinelli (Chief editor of Marie Claire Italia). It is aimed at graduates and/or professionals wishing to undertake a course that offers an opportunity to explore cultural insight and practical experience within the broad sector of fashion communication.

This course is built on a cultural and curatorial approach, anthropology and sociology, and history of fashion in order to culturally deepen the knowledge of global cultures that are an integral part of the social and economic system.

Since Communication is a constantly evolving sector, also the technological aspect will be explored such as AI, Internet of Things, Big Data, Blockchain which require understanding from both creative and technical sides for business development, purchasing models, and most importantly communication strategies.

Likewise, styling, fashion filmmaking, digital graphic communication as well as the written narrative, the art of writing and storytelling that is effective in a world that will become more and more virtual and more and more analog-based.

What should a student expect to learn from this course?

To qualify as professionals that are ready to develop a career in the highly competitive international Fashion System within the context of communication understood in its broadest and most contemporary meaning.

Students will be able to interpret a great variety of techniques in the promotion and representation of the brand image. They will acquire the cultural and design skills enabling them to curate fashion exhibitions and presentations as an expression of a visual language. Also work professionally in the construction of narratives and texts for omnichannel publications, working effectively with the ability to create using the most recent technologies and knowing the latest innovations to define communication strategies.

They will be able to manage their professional future careers in this constantly evolving and profoundly changing sector.

What career opportunities are available after completing this course?

In this constantly changing, evolving sector of the fashion industry we aim to prepare students for an evolving career, currently we would answer - digital and communication manager, event manager, fashion stylist, journalist, and art director, but naturally this is not exhaustive.

Why should a student pick this course over another?

This goes for any course, not just this one, in particular, a student should apply for a course that fits both their learning needs, the style in which they both enjoy, and in an environment with the methodology they feel comfortable learning in and fits their career aspirations.

Certainly, this course has a most contemporary vision for its students who should aim to be abreast of the times, it equips students with the cultural underpinning to face the evolution of the industry and the environment. Working with important players in the sector, as the academic team and industry projects are able to offer a true insight to the current panorama of the industry with the experience to guide students for the future.

Images: Accademia Costume & Moda

Accademia Costume & Moda