Portugal fashion

IED Fashion School seeks global expansion in North America – WWD

MILAN — The Istituto Europeo di Design fashion school prides itself on offering a teaching method that is opposite and complementary to the performance-oriented Anglo-Saxon approach.

Danilo Venturi, a former Polimoda executive recently appointed director of IED’s Florence unit, is also responsible for spearheading its global expansion and has orchestrated a tie-up with Moda Lisboa, the Portuguese fashion organizing body, to offer visibility to local talent.

The school has units in six Italian cities such as Milan, Florence, Rome, Turin and Venice, among others, and has already expanded abroad, running schools in Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao, in Spain and in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil.

“IED is a ‘southern’ school, with an opposite and complementary teaching model to the Anglo-Saxon one,” Venturi said. Asked to elaborate, he proposed that students and content should be at the center of the academic offer, rather than the performance of the former.

He described the school’s approach as “humanistic”, in that it values ​​cross-pollination and collaboration between fashion, art, design and communications departments.

“I always had the same perception of IED before and after joining it. It is a school that is not in competition with other academic institutions, with a different positioning, it is not a ‘ranking’ school”, he argued.

Although the school has already branched out internationally, some competitors have embarked on an even stronger wave of internationalization. To that end, Venturi said there are other geographies that the IED could tap into as well.

“I do not rule out that by 2025, the school will expand its footprint in Europe, Asia and America,” he offered, highlighting IED’s ambition for North America, in part of the school’s 2025 agenda, but keeping more details under wraps.

In addition to opening new units or making acquisitions, he sees collaboration as a third avenue for expansion, which would also support foreign talent revenue at existing schools. Collaboration “is a way to generate value for all parties involved, without necessarily relying on commercial pushes. Even if the IED is on the market as [business] entity, it still remains a school,” Venturi said.

Danilo Venturi, director of IED Firenze.
Courtesy of IED

Of its 5,600 students worldwide, 30% are international, with the most represented countries being Australia, the United States, India and France. The pandemic has somewhat affected the school’s international appeal, Venturi argued.

“My mission is to relaunch this process and Florence is an essential lever,” noted the executive, extolling the city’s historical link with the arts and creativity, as well as its more accessible way of life compared to a metropolis where fashion schools are often concentrated. The unit will soon be undergoing renovations, he said.

Aware of changing trends in fashionable education, which must reflect societal and behavioral transformations, the executive praised IED’s ability to translate them into its programs.

“We don’t set academic benchmarks, but there are trends defining the world of creativity today,” he said, that are embedded in the academic offering.

Florence IED unit.

Florence IED unit.
Paolo Cagnacci/Courtesy of IED

He cited the convergence of different fields such as art intermingling with finance and technology in NFTs and creative directors combining creativity and business acumen; a disintermediation that has valued the challenging role of the creative culture of brands and the media, as well as an awareness that goes in the direction of responsibility and sustainability.


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