IED Seeks Global Expansion With ‘Humanistic’ Teaching

·3 min read

MILAN — Fashion school Istituto Europeo di Design prides itself on offering a teaching method that is opposed and complementary to the Anglo-Saxon, performance-driven approach.

Danilo Venturi, a former Polimoda executive recently tapped as director of IED’s Florence unit, is also tasked with spearheading its global expansion and has masterminded a tie-up with Moda Lisboa, the Portugal fashion organizing body, to offer visibility to local talents.

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The school counts 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, Spain and in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil.

“IED is a ‘southern’ school, with a teaching model that is opposed and complementary to the Anglo-Saxon one,” Venturi said. Asked to elaborate, he offered that students and content are at the center of the academic offering, rather than the former’s performance.

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

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

Although the school has already branched internationally, some competitors have been on an even stronger internationalization spree. To this end, Venturi said there are more geographies IED, too, could tap into.

“I don’t rule out that by 2025 the school will expand its footprint in Europe, Asia and America,” he offered, emphasizing IED’s ambition for North America, as part of the school’s 2025 agenda, but keeping further 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 the income of foreign talents in existing schools. Collaboration “is a way to generate value for all involved parties, without necessarily relying on commercial pushes. Even if IED is on the market as a [business] entity, it still remains a school,” Venturi said.

IED Firenze’s director Danilo Venturi. - Credit: Courtesy of IED
IED Firenze’s director Danilo Venturi. - Credit: Courtesy of IED

Courtesy of IED

Out of its 5,600 students globally, 30 percent are international, with the most represented countries being Australia, the U.S., India and France. The pandemic has somewhat affected the international appeal of the school, Venturi contended.

“My mission is to restart this process and Florence is a pivotal lever,” the executive noted, touting the city’s storied connection with the arts and creativity, as well as its more approachable lifestyle compared to a metropolis where fashion schools are often concentrated. The unit will soon undergo renovation works, he said.

Mindful of evolving trends in fashion education, which need to reflect societal and behavioral transformations, the executive touted IED’s ability to translate them into its syllabuses.

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

IED Florence unit. - Credit: Paolo Cagnacci/Courtesy of IED
IED Florence unit. - Credit: Paolo Cagnacci/Courtesy of IED

Paolo Cagnacci/Courtesy of IED

He cited convergence of different fields as is the case for art mingling with finance and technology in NFTs and creative directors combining creativity and business acumen; disintermediation which has valued the creator culture challenging role of brands and media outlets, as well as consciousness which goes along the lines of the responsibility and sustainability.

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