Shoes by Cercal and Arsutoria School students were on the catwalk at the 2021 edition

[On the cover: Cercal and Arsutoria School’s fashion shows at Fashion Graduate Italia 2021 – photo by Daniele Venturelli]

Promoted by the Fashion Training System Platform Association (“Associazione Piattaforma Sistema Formativo Moda”), the 2021 edition of Fashion Graduate Italia took place at Base in Milan from the 24th to the 26th of October, reaffirming itself as an important showcase for fashion schools to present students’ projects, but also to address – through talks and meetings – topical issues such as sector training, the future of environmental sustainability, and digitalisation in the fashion system. The hybrid formula, physical and digital, of this edition brought to the catwalk the collections of high school and university students in their final year from 16 academies, institutes and schools which were also present at Base with their own booths. The catwalks were broadcast via live streaming on the Fashion Graduate Italia portal and on the Artsthread platform, so as to reach an increasingly wider audience of companies and style offices, and to facilitate the entrance and exposition of young people on the job market. The added value of the Fashion Training System Platform is in the close link that each school has with the cultural, historical, and industrial heritage of its district – aligning the training offer to the needs of their territorial market.

The Cercal center, based in San Mauro Pascoli – at the heart of the high-end women’s footwear district – works in collaboration with prestigious footwear companies and teachers from the industry, operating as a real Shoes Academy. The students worked towards the show around the theme of women and femininity. Edoardo Battellini interpreted his romantic woman through nude lace over-the-knee boots with corset-lacing in a high or flat heel version, golden mules with gladiator lacing, and sandals with feathers. Felipe Alvarez was inspired by the strong and wild side of women, presenting black patent leather sandals with fluorescent touches, animal print wedges, square-toe gladiator sandals, and sandals with uppers in knotted leather and with a fringe effect. All the footwear was born out of an internship in Sergio Rossi’s and Giuseppe Zanotti’s shoe factories – two local excellences, which support the centre. Cercal plans to create an incubator for start-ups, the Tech for Fashion Hub, in collaboration with the Municipality of San Mauro Pascoli.

The Arsutoria School, based in Milan, presented two sustainable footwear projects, one on leather and one on sneakers: “Meaningful Design/Sustainable Leather” is a design challenge in collaboration with Smit & Zoon, a Dutch manufacturer of chemical products for the leather industry, resulting in a modular sandal with multiple variations in shape and colour, and sneakers that combine the comfort of slippers and classy style. “!Pump up the Value!”, instead, focuses on the principles of reducing, reusing, and recycling with sneakers that recover and transform used and disposed sofa materials.

While not only focused on footwear, some schools pay a lot of attention to accessories. This is the case of Accademia Costume & Moda, with offices in Rome and Milan. It proposed the projects of the Master in Accessories Design, the result of a collaboration with Fendi, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Furla. Each student designed six bags and six shoes following the companies’ briefing.

ITS Cosmo, with offices in Veneto and Lombardy, as part of its Sport System Specialist course, focused on sports footwear and presented a series of sneakers made in collaboration with companies in the Asola and Montebelluna districts, including Lotto.