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Fashion School Q&A: Institut Français de la Mode (IFM)

By FashionUnited

Jun 11, 2021


Homepage photo: James Ewing

Institut Français de la Mode is a higher education institution, a training center for apprentices, a provider of executive education, as well as a center of expertise for the textiles, fashion and luxury industries. Located in Paris, it provides educational programs from vocational training to doctoral level, by cross-fertilizing design, management and know-how. FashionUnited spoke with IFM about the institute’s future plans, courses, and community.

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

As all other schools in France, the first lockdown in March 2020 surprised us all and we immediately had to switch from 100 percent in-house to 100 percent online. We had to train all the faculty on how to use the different tools available and organise online courses, individual follow-ups, juries, case studies, dissertation defenses, online coaching, etc.

For the fashion design and couture programs, some students were able to take home some of the equipment which usually stays on campus (dummies, sewing machines...) as well as fabrics. But when the sanitary situation improved, students were able to go back to campus for workshops and technical classes and today teaching is a mix of online and on-campus.

Obviously this has been a challenge for everyone. We all agree that 100% remote is not satisfactory, neither for the students nor the professors. But the situation really helped the school understand the advantages of online learning and pushed us to come up with innovative ways of teaching.

Photo: by Jean Picon

How would you describe the IFM student community?

IFM students are very diverse. 40 percent of our students come from outside France. They also have very diverse backgrounds as we welcome all types of previous studies (fashion design of course but also business, law, communications, humanities, engineering, etc.).

What they all have in common is creativity and a passion for fashion in its cultural and economic dimensions.

What kind of courses does IFM offer? What is the focus area?

IFM is quite unique as it offers educational programmes in 3 different fields: fashion design, fashion management and savoir-faire (craftsmanship).

We offer vocational couture programmes for 16 year-olds, Bachelors programmes in pattern-making, fashion design, and management, Masters programmes in fashion design and fashion management, an Executive MBA, a PhD, Summer School programmes, and a Fashion Entrepreneurship Center. We also have executive programmes for professionals working in the fashion industry.

Photo: by Sacha Heron

What do we need to know about IFM?

IFM is an interdisciplinary fashion school that covers all aspects of fashion, from design to couture and pattern-making, management and image design. Implementing a collaborative culture across these disciplines is a very important feature of learning.

Located in the heart of Paris, IFM has very tight links with the fashion industry and the world-renowned fashion houses. These houses are part of the school’s governance, and provide case studies and projects to the students throughout the year.

IFM has a strong focus on academic research and develops Research and Teaching Chairs, for example, the IFM-Kering Chair on Fashion Sustainability.

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

IFM has a brand new 9,000 square meter campus located on the banks of the river Seine, fully equipped with studios, workshops, a fablab, a DIY workshop, a knit workshop, leather workshops, a photo studio, a CAD workshop... The new campus will be inaugurated in the next few months.

The school will also be launching a new Bachelor’s programme in Management for Fashion and Creative Industries in September 2021.

Do you have any tips for future students who want to study at IFM?

We value diversity, curiosity and open-mindedness. So be creative and be true to yourselves!