Ital­ian fash­ion school ex­pands to Guangzhou

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By LIWENFANG in Guangzhou liwenfang@chi­

Mi­lan-based fash­ion school Isti­tuto Secoli has opened a new branch in Guangzhou, Guang­dong prov­ince, to help fill the need for more pat­tern­mak­ing tal­ent in China’s fash­ion in­dus­try.

“China is not lack­ing fash­ion de­sign­ers, but pat­tern­mak­ing tal­ent,” said Sam Lau, di­rec­tor and vice-dean of the school, which is well known for train­ing pat­tern­mak­ers as well as teach­ing de­sign­ing, sew­ing and pro­duc­tion man­age­ment.

In China, pat­tern­mak­ing knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence has tra­di­tion­ally been passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. In the past, pat­tern­mak­ers have had a rel­a­tively low level of ed­u­ca­tion, mak­ing it in­ef­fi­cient for them to com­mu­ni­cate with de­sign­ers, Lau said.

Some fash­ion com­pa­nies buy pat­terns from Euro­pean coun­ter­parts, but Euro­pean and Chi­nese peo­ple of­ten have dif­fer­ent mea­sure­ments, he said.

Isti­tuto Secoli, which also pro­vides train­ing to big­name Euro­pean fash­ion houses, has taught more than 80,000 stu­dents since it was founded in 1934. It is a cham­pion of the be­lief, typ­i­cal to the Ital­ian fash­ion in­dus­try, that cre­ative ideas must be trans­lated into per­fectly thought-through well­crafted prod­ucts.

As the only over­seas cam­pus of the school, the Guangzhou branch houses 10 stu­dents aged 18 to 26, with ca­pac­ity for 30 more. Classes started in Oc­to­ber. The Chi­nese part­ners of the cam­pus in­clude the Guang­dong As­so­ci­a­tion of Gar­ment and Gar­ment Ar­ti­cle In­dus­try, Guang­dong Fash­ion De­sign­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and Guangzhou Tex­tile Ex­change Park.

Guangzhou is a prime lo­ca­tion for the cam­pus be­cause the sur­round­ing prov­ince hosts much of China’s gar­ment in­dus­try, the most fash­ion brands, the largest ap­parel industrial chain and the most fash­ion de­sign­ers, Lau said.

As the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal, the city also ac­com­mo­dates a full gar­ment and raw­ma­te­ri­als sup­ply chain, he said.

French fash­ion de­sign school Es­mod launched its Guangzhou cam­pus in 2014.

With the Chi­nese govern­ment plac­ing greater em­pha­sis on vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, more qual­ity for­eign ed­u­ca­tional re­sources are ex­pected to open branches in the coun­try, Lau said.

Isti­tuto Secoli’s Mi­lan cam­pus has 400 stu­dents, many of whom come from China, said Si­mona Borgh­e­san, a pat­tern­mak­ing teacher work­ing at the Guangzhou cam­pus.

Stu­dents at the new cam­pus will spend two years in Guangzhou learn­ing both fash­ion and the Ital­ian lan­guage, with a third year in Mi­lan.

Can­di­dates do not need fash­ion skills or ex­pe­ri­ence, but must have a pas­sion for fash­ion if they are to get the most out of the packed sched­ules, Lau said.

Song Xu­nan, who com­pleted a four-year univer­sity pro­gram in en­gi­neer­ing bud­get­ing ear­lier this year, is study­ing at the Guangzhou cam­pus to pur­sue her dream of work­ing in fash­ion.

“I wanted to learn fash­ion when I was at high school, but did not have the draw­ing skills nec­es­sary to at­tend fash­ion pro­grams at Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties,” she said.

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