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Fashion school: Q&A with Amsterdam Fashion Academy

By Andrea Byrne


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The Amsterdam Fashion Academy is a boutique academy that focuses on entrepreneurship, research, digital transformation, individuality and sustainability. FashionUnited recently spoke to Luca Bagnaschino, the head of marketing and recruitment at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy 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?

During the first lockdown in March 2020, the entire team of the Amsterdam Fashion Academy turned the school into a 100 percent digital institute in only a weekend, thanks also to the support of Luiss Business School. We did not want to provide online classes with voice-overs over power points, we wanted them to be live sessions, including classes of fabric dyeing or drawing demonstrations. It was an ambitious task, but the team was incredible.

We have two smart classrooms now where you can live stream from the Academy so that students who are not able to come physically to Amsterdam can access the classes. I am very proud to say that from September to December 2020 we were able to provide 70 percent of courses on-campus.

How would you describe Amsterdam Fashion Academy’s student community?

The first important aspect of our student community is that 73 percent of them are international, coming from different countries around Europe and the world. Our educational vision focuses on those students who do not feel at home in regular ‘mass’ education. Our discerning students want to be treated as individuals and not just as ‘this year’s intake’. We want to get to know them personally, grow with them and help them unleash their creative potential while equipping them with all the skills and knowledge they need for a successful future in fashion.

What kind of courses does Amsterdam Fashion Academy offer? What is the focus area?

The Amsterdam Fashion Academy is a private international fashion university that offers university-level Bachelor’s degrees with honours in fashion design and fashion business, both three-year long and accredited by the reputable Buckinghamshire New University in England. Therefore, it is the first school in the Netherlands to offer university-awarded British Bachelor’s (Hons) degree programmes.

The BA (Hons) fashion design is a programme of study designed to provide the students with a greater understanding and experience of the creative processes, knowledge base and technical skills required to enter the fashion industry. The BA (Hons) fashion business is a programme of study designed for students who aspire to work in the fields of marketing, campaign building, branding, communication, trend and prediction, and fashion editorial styling.

We also offer a pre-degree foundation diploma in fashion (one year full-time): it is aimed at school leavers who are unsure which of the BA (Hons) fashion design or BA (Hons) fashion business suits them best. Students who are planning to take a gap year can consider our fast-track fashion design and business course (three months full-time).

We also part-time courses (three months) addressed to professionals who would like to make a career change, or set up their own fashion brand or would like to discover more about the fashion industry. Finally, we are offering two-week summer courses this year.

What do we need to know about Amsterdam Fashion Academy?

The difference between Amsterdam Fashion Academy and other schools is that we are a dedicated hub of small- scale, student-centred learning in a personal and supportive environment. Our classes have no more than 14 students, and this ensures that every single student is treated as an individual. All students at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy are unique with their own needs and talents which we foster, support and assist, so they can all develop to their full potential.

Amsterdam Fashion Academy has been acquired by Luiss Business School in January 2020. Luiss Business School is based in Rome and it is a part of the Luiss University, a prestigious and world-renowned private university affiliated with the biggest Italian employers’ organisation, Confindustria.

We also have a Professional Advisory Committee (PAC), which collaborates with us in implementing improvements, to ensure that the Amsterdam Fashion Academy is constantly at the forefront of fashion education and aligned with trends and needs of the fashion industry. The aim is to offer the students a unique learning opportunity that mixes academic and industry-based research with entrepreneurship and creativity.

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

This academic year has marked a change for the Amsterdam Fashion Academy. As mentioned before, it’s the first year after the acquisition by Luiss Business School, which will lead in the future to master degrees offered at the Amsterdam Fashion Academy.

The fashion industry changes very fast, especially now during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have designed three curricula that prepare students to have a successful career in the future fashion industry, in a corporation or as entrepreneurs. We are quite lucky at the Academy. We have a flexible team and structure. This helps us to adjust quickly to new trends and to offer additional learning opportunities to the current curriculum.

Sustainability, diversity, inclusion, zero waste and circular fashion are the most discussed topics within the fashion industry for a while already, they are also a part of our vision. We aim to organise a job fair with top fashion brands in June 2021 to support our alumni in building up their industry network and in starting a bright career. Alumni will have the chance to have “speed-dating” job interviews with recruiters and show them projects and portfolios. Current students will be also invited to find internships opportunities.

Do you have any tips for future students who want to study at Amsterdam Fashion Academy?

I encourage them to visit us during an open day or to join an online open day. Our next on-campus open days are scheduled for 24 April and 5 June, while the online open days are scheduled for 20 May and 24 June. Another suggestion to young students is to consider our summer courses, which will help them to create their portfolios.

Photo credit: Rise Agency

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