Fashion Advisor #1 What are the skills to make a career in fashion?
Today we start our new Fashion Advisor column, to tell you about the fashion industry from the inside, how it is structured, which are the various macro areas and therefore the various professional roles, so that you can consciously choose what you want to do in the fashion industry.
This column will be held by our professional Stefano Sacchi, marketing and merchandising consultant, as well as teacher, fashion writer, former CEO of the Giuliano Fujiwara brand and also a member of Camera Moda Italia.
Let’s get started!
The fashion industry is in the collective imagination a seemingly perfect and glamorous environment, but in reality not all that glitters is gold… Behind the glitzy clothes often hide sacrifices, hard work, commitment, perseverance and above all many professional figures. Many more than you can imagine. Observing the shows that take place during the fashion weeks we admire models from all over the world and we discover the collections of fashion houses that express new trends, but also memory and recovery of past styles….all this is built thanks to market studies, skilled planning skills and quantitative attitudes as well as qualitative and creative.
What are the qualities needed to make a career in the fashion world? Passion for style, attention to detail, desire to experiment and ability to constantly challenge oneself. Fashion is cyclical and ephemeral and companies are looking for talents who can keep up with the latest trends or even anticipate them. Italy is renowned worldwide for the fashion industry and there is an official body, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana.
Before talking about the different roles, jobs, professionalism, it is necessary to clarify the birth of Italian fashion that everyone thinks is a constitutive element of the identity of our country, while it is absolutely very recent and dates back to February 1951.
In fact, until that moment fashion was a French and English phenomenon, except for a few Italians already famous abroad (Schiaparelli and Ferragamo), no Italian tailor or stylist had yet established himself.
Elsa Schiaparelli was the Italian dressmaker who unnerved Coco Chanel as she had the best relationships with international culture (eg: Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Meret Oppenheim and Alberto Giacometti) and was along with Chanel the most influential figure in fashion between the wars, while Ferragamo had already enchanted the Hollywood world with his footwear.
Only in the second post-war period, after the fall of Fascism, which created adverse political situations for the diffusion of Italian fashion, was it able to show itself to the Americans. February 1951 (exactly 12/2/1951) is the date of birth of our fashion.
Giovan Battista Giorgini, a Florentine count, organized a fashion show in his private residence to which he invited journalists and American buyers. It will be a huge success that will be repeated in July of the same year at the Grand Hotel in Florence and then twice a year in the famous White Room of Palazzo Pitti.
The so-called “boutique fashion”, suitable for the American public who want quality at the right price (in Italy the labor cost is lower than in other countries), that is, a handcrafted and accessible luxury was born and spread in America, where customers go crazy for our country.
This is how Italian fashion was born with stylists, almost all noble or high ranking, who wanted to spread good taste and distinctive style: Carosa (Princess Caracciolo), Mirsa (Marchesa Olga di Grésy), Pucci (Marchese Emilio Pucci), La tessitrice dell’ Isola (Baroness Gallotti), Atelier Simonetta (Princess Simonetta Colonna Visconti), Emilio Schubert, Sorelle Fontana, Roberto Capucci, etc..
Italy cannot compete with French or English haute couture, so it specializes in a field that has been lacking until that moment and that will be its strong point since it is particularly loved by American buyers, the real protagonists of the business. ….In the 80s America will also play an essential role in the birth of the generation of Italian designers (Armani, Valentino, Versace, Ferré, Krizia, Fendi…) just think of the proclamation of Armani who won in 1979 the Neiman Marcus Award (the American Oscar of fashion) after Schaiaparelli (1940) Ferragamo (1947), Mirsa (1953), Pucci (1954), Roberta di Camerino (1956), Fornasetti (1959), Mila Schon (1966), Valentino (1967) and Missoni (1973).
After him only Miuccia Prada will win it. After the Neiman Marcus award Hollywood, the whole of America bows down to “King George” who dresses Dian Keaton for the evening in which he wins his Oscar and Richard Gere for the film American Gigolo which is a worldwide success.
The structure of our country, its creativity but also the boom of the ’60s have favored the birth of Italian fashion and its progress, with it the range of jobs and professional figures in continuous evolution, which we will deal with in the coming weeks.
by Stefano Sacchi
25th March, 2022