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A New Denim School in Milan Wants to Serve the Evolving Denim Industry

As the birthplace of iconic brands like Diesel and Replay, and home to forward-thinking companies like Isko and Tonello, Italy has proven to be a hub for innovative and creative denim, time and time again.

Now, a new school in Milan is making use of that experience and know-how with the launch of Italy’s first fashion program tailor made for denim.

Founded by fashion insider Gianni Fontana and Cristian Murianni, co-founder of the Italian denim trade show Denim Boulevard, the Denim School of Milano will offer students hands-on lessons and opportunities to learn about the industry directly from its leaders.

Given Italy’s history as a fashion nucleus and denim’s reign as a best-selling item for more than 140 years, Fontana said a jeans school in Italy has been missed. “Italy is Italy,” he said. “As Italians, we will put our soul into this project.”

The Denim School of Milano is associated with Acof Moda Milano, a fashion school established in 1956. Open to all, Fontana told Rivet the school is for anyone with an interest in denim, as well as fashion students who would like to develop a specialty in jeanswear.

Coursework has been developed based on the needs of the industry. To put it bluntly, Fontana said the current level of knowledge about denim even in the denim industry is often superficial.

“We want to start from the base in order to give a while training to the students,” he explained.

Teachers and lecturers are experts from the denim world and will take students through the history of denim to current trends in branding and street style. Fontana said the school will focus on hot topics in the industry like sustainability, and also work to ensure traditional techniques and classical jean production are carried down to the next generation of denim designers.

The school will offer three levels of programs, including a two-week workshop that begins in September, which will focus on both theory and lab work. During the first week, students will tour a fabric factory, laundry and dye house, as well as have access to a vintage denim archive. The second week will include indigo dyeing, denim patternmaking and sewing labs.

Denim School of Milano will host regular seminars and round-table discussions throughout the year. Additionally, faculty can create tailored courses or workshops for companies and brands. In 2019, the school will launch a three-month long course.

The success of the school, Fonanta said, will be based on its strong relationship with the industry and its ability to develop the program together in order to anticipate the market’s training and skill level needs.

The school is already gathering “good and unexpected interest” from companies across the supply chain, Fontana said. And it’s also considering some sponsorship proposals from brands. “We hope to collaborate and find synergies,” he said.

An opening event will take place July 9 at Acof Moda Milano with a roundtable discussion featuring Endrime designer Mohsin Sajid and Luca Sartor of Riedizione.

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