A Gypsy-Themed Evening at FLY

Article and Photo by Kiera Mulhall

On Tuesday, September 19th, FLY Fashion Loves You hosted their first event of the Fall 2017 semester. The Florence University of the Arts school of fashion, also known as FAST: Fashion and Accessory Studies and Technology, collaborated with other programs to produce the Gypsy Caravan.

At first glance, FLY is another trendy store front, but once you enter you are surrounded by a world of emerging fashion. The consignment shop is operated by students in many different ways. Student interns manage the store and design students create pieces that are sometimes sold in the store. It is a great way for students to gain professional and authentic experience as well as interact with the Florence community.

The Tuesday night apertivo was a very unique experience. The store was very bright and filled with a wide array of people, many of whom were students. The attendees were all very fashionably dressed, not surprising for an event hosted by the fashion students. Upon entering the store guests were able to browse through the racks of clothes while making their way to the courtyard. One room was filled with wine and refreshments as well as small snacks and finger-­foods. Despite the rainy and overcast day, it was a beautiful night to spend in the courtyard of FLY. The courtyard was dimly lit with strands of Christmas lights and colorful streamers. There was a two piece band comprised of an accordion player and a bass player. Throughout the night they filled the air with traditional folk music. The music was very lively and set the tone for the Gypsy Caravan theme.

Guests at the apertivo had the option of having their tarot cards read, very appropriate considering the history of tarot cards and their presence in the gypsy culture. They also could spend time in a classroom that was transformed into a colorful photo booth. One very notable aspect of the evening was the collaboration between the different schools of the university. Students of DIVA, FAST, and APICUS came together to create a beautiful evening for the rest of the university as well as native Florentines. The students who created the event did an impressive job with their interpretation of the Gypsy culture and provided a fun night for all who attended.

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The Many Shapes of Art & Fashion

Article and Photo by Ariana Andretta

To conclude the Spring 2017, FLY & FAST of Florence University of the Arts held its last showcase on Tuesday, May 2nd. The final theme was “The White Party,” which highlighted students’ innovative use of an often-overlooked material, straw, in the forms of hats.

A highlight of the night was the runway display of models who brought these pieces to life. According to FLY & Fast’s social media guru for this semester, Olivia, the theme of the show pulled from spheres of influence such as P. Diddy’s infamous white parties and the overall idea of luxury. She explained that the goal was to “make everything seem more elegant and a step-up of a party.” Guests could also become personally engaged through the interactive ability to dress to the theme.

Since the end is nearing, Olivia also reflected a bit on how this experience has shaped her time in Florence. She shared that being the social media coordinator for FLY & FAST has taught her about “the Italian side of business opposed to the American side we have come to know.” The beauty of experiential learning based educational programs such as this one is getting a sense of what it would be like actually working in this industry, which is something students can take home with them to apply to their future.

The models were accompanied by a live acoustic performance throughout the evening to create a relaxed ambiance in the background for guests. Similar to the 90s catwalks played on screens at the first FLY event, this was an activity to make everyone connect more to the material being showcased. There was an artisanal atmosphere mixed with entertainment based activities, proving that the event included a little taste of something for everyone.

To put a cap on the night, there was a special dance performance from FUA’s choreography workshop class taught by Keith Ferrone. When asked about the inspiration behind the piece, Keith shared that the students had “free realm of putting what their experience was in Florence into dance.” They used different stimuli from all aspects of art they encountered during their these past few months.

The experience of studying and living abroad is one that will last a lifetime. Despite the cliché sentiments that this phrase may initially suggest, it still rings true because of community involved events like FLY. The garden was a sociocultural bubble of students, professors, and locals alike because everyone came with the same intent of participating in a night of fashion and fun.

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No One Can Be As "BeYOUtiful" As You

By Ariana Andretta

"BeGiuls" Clothing Embraces Self-Expression in Fashion at recent FLY event.

On March 14th, FLY & FAST of Florence University of the Arts welcomed the public to their second fashion & aperitivo event of the semester. This show’s theme centered on the launch of the store’s new emerging designer, Giuliana Becattini, and her new spring collection entitled "BeGiuls, Be You." She is a Florentine fashion designer who has established two brands, “L’Abito che… Vorrei” and now more recently in 2011, "BeGiuls."

The atmosphere of this collection was popularized as "easy formal." According to Michaela Rynecki, a student of Fashion Retail Management Experiential Learning, this is because of the clothing's versatility, as she explained that some winter collection pieces on display feature reversible sides. Many of Giuliana’s products include these flexible ideals so they can be dressed up or down and worn suitably to the occasion.

Giuliana gave the incredible opportunity of being an attendee to this event, which allowed the mutually beneficial discovery for her to see how guests reacted and unveil herself as the mastermind behind these clothes. When discussing the idea of the welcome gifts, she explained that they were the same patterns as in the collection. The mixed, reversible patterns show how she designs in a personalized sense so the wearer can adjust everything to their liking. She believes a person should be able "joke" with clothes because "they're a part of our lives and so are jokes." Patterns do not have to always match perfectly – stripes can be on one side and checkered print on the other – and a person’s wardrobe should be a quirky and fun experience.

The other course involved with this show was the apparel design class, which was responsible for crafting all of the student design pieces. Similar to the last showcase, these students had three weeks to prepare their designs from sketches to fabric selection to construction. Gaia Poli, their professor, explained that students “learn to work under stress, which makes the presentation at the party a goal and worthwhile celebratory engagement.” The efforts of their process start-to-finish encircled the outside area of the back of the store. Their newly found designer minds were on display along with all of their possible pattern selections hanging above.

Since experiential learning is such a huge component to FLY, the school is notorious for creatively converting classroom spaces for events. This time around, something especially unique took place for the benefit of both guests and students because the collection in the store was having its first live photoshoot. Giuliana voiced that the first picture in her mind when designing these pieces was "a place full of flowers where there was a lady without shoes," reminding her of the concept of freedom. This idea refers to the 70s with the combination of vibrant materials like tulle serving as her childhood in a contemporary context. The designer wanted her life and style to be reflected in her clothes as well as their photographs.

The overall hope of this event was to have a building full of people embracing what it means to "Be You." Fashion is one of the most innovative outlets to use for self-expression and leaves open room for whether or not it provides the definition of the self. The "BeGiuls" brand and team wants people to make their own decision and incorporate a part of themselves in their everyday style.
 

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The 90s Are All That: FLY Spring 2017 Event

By Arianna Andretta
Photo by the author

FLY & FAST of Florence University of the Arts showcased the first of their series of four fashion & aperitivo nights for this semester on Tuesday evening. FAST is the shorthand for FUA’s Fashion & Accessories Studies & Technology department, which comprises not only classes for students, but also the opportunity to gain experience working in a professional setting through FLY. The vintage and consignment store produces student-crafted fashion pieces in addition to promoting a new emerging designer each semester. The chosen theme for their first event centered on the 90s – the era of grunge, floppy disks, and of course, the beloved slinky.

The comeback of the 90s exemplifies a common tie between those who experienced the trends of the time and those who aspire to retain the style without actually living through it. Feelings of childhood nostalgia and reminiscence of youth are the cause of the craze. According to Olivia, the store’s student social media manager, incorporating the 90s was a way to mix in the fashionably popularized grunge look with the current generation that embraces it. “Since FLY is a vintage store to begin with that includes unique designs, the 90s theme was a good way to incorporate the purpose of the store itself,” she added. Hence the tagline “FLY back to the 90s” was created.

It was a not so puzzling choice to select this time warp theme in the midst of the holiday of candy hearts. While speaking with Gaia Poli, store manager and faculty member, she explained that the 90s are “a praise of casualty.” They did not want to paralyze the event with Valentine’s Day, as others could easily do, and made it hinted at instead as to not completely ignore the holiday festivities. A few light decorations that would be hidden to the distracted eye – such as hearts hung in some of the fashion labs – were implanted throughout the building.

The current featured emerging designer, Marakita, also presented some of her pieces at the event that included such subtlety. One of the clutches, for example, included a heart shaped option while the other’s form could be equated to that of a love letter. The genius behind Marakita’s designs is their unique quality. Fabrics are specifically designed for the brand so the pieces will literally be one-of-a-kind. Aside from a clutch with an original pattern matched to the buyer’s requests, the leather used is also vegan. The bag will not only be personalized but additionally eco-friendly.

While the event heavily focused on the current goals of the fashion department, it was a time to put all areas of experiential learning to work, including event management, hospitality, culinary, digital media, and more. The best part of the abundance of student involvement in these programs is that it provides them with something as close to real life experience as possible. According to Nico, the student designer of the choker giveaways for the first guests to arrive, there is a constant dialogue open about how to problem solve and decide on the smartest option at hand.

In the case of the chokers, the original design was a cross-back piece, which presented a concern of potentially overusing leather. After some deliberation, the crossing feature of the necklace was eliminated but the choice to pick the importance of style over saving leather was made. “The halfway choker uses more material but better fit the look of the era,” he explained. The lucky first 30 attendees seemed pleased regardless to walk away with their 90s inspired accessories.

FLY’s first event was ultimately a success thanks to the joint efforts of faculty, students, and community alike. The 90s atmosphere lived in the band posters, floppy CDs, and colorful pops of slinkies throughout the store. With a continued atmospheric blend of 90s catwalks playing as a backdrop and great cuisine, guests enjoyed themselves as they flew back in time for a few hours.


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FAST'S First Student Straw Collection

FAST’S FIRST STUDENT STRAW COLLECTION
By Jessica Pitocco and Amber Wright

When people think of fashion in Tuscany, leather is usually the first to come to mind. In Florence, leather products abound in high and low-end stores as well as at the outdoor markets. What most people don’t know is that straw, while in today’s fashion less popular, is also a classic material with strong roots in this region.

Dolce and Gabbana’s Spring 2016 collection featured straw materials in handbags and clutches, and on December 6th, FUA’s Fly event did the same. Titled “Winter Garden Fashion Party,” student Emily Russell headlined the event, displaying her collection of hats and bags for which she utilized this historical material and lessons learned in class.

Russell was the first student from a special accesories class to feature her artisanal straw designs at a FLY event. As the only student in her beginner-level class, "Straw Hats and Bags: A Florentine Dynasty," Russell felt nervous about being one-on-one with the professor, Francesca Mocali. But, as she later mentioned, the class moved at a proper pace and gave her more opportunity than she had ever previously had to explore her creativity as a designer. In fact, Russell never planned on designing anything; as a Fashion Merchandising major at the University of South Carolina, she hadn’t previously encountered the opportunity to design anything before. 

"Through this class I not only got this amazing opportunity for a show, but I also learned new skills like sewing, by hand and with a machine, sketching, and design. I can now manipulate the straw into different shapes and edges, and even match different colors and materials together," Russell said.

Russell and her professor started preparing for “Winter Garden Fashion Party” in mid-October. During her time in the classroom, Prof. Mocali taught her how to manipulate sinamay: a straw-like fabric made from banana leaves that Russell used for her collection of five hats and two bags. While working with the material, she experimented with the natural colors of sinamay in taupes, blues, and browns to create a cohesive line for the show.

Russell said she sees how sinamay could be used as an eco-friendly alternative fabric in modern fashion; taking an old Italian technique and making it modern through design, color, and styling. Her inspiration was drawn from from historical Florence and artworks at the Uffizi.

"I love the look of draped fabrics on marble statues. My collection has a subtle Renaissance-feel because of the way I folded the sinamay and used curves in the hats to mimic that," Russell said. "Looking at paintings in the Uffizi Gallery, or even the basilica’s gothic arches, I experimented with each element in an avant-garde way."

While this is Russell’s first design class, after this course she is open to the idea of taking similar classes at her college and exploring her creative side more thoroughly.

"I appreciate all sides of fashion more than ever, and I feel like anyone in this business should get to experience this too," Russell said. "I never really thought of myself as a designer, but now I've had my own show and could not be happier!"
 

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Dressed to Kill: Experience of a Lifetime

By Leah Lamorte
Photo courtesy of FLY


Florence University of the Arts encourages its students to go beyond the classroom by engaging with the local community, and establishing a creative presence in Florence.  FUA creates a space for students to take what they learn in class and apply it to real life events. Often, different classes within FUA collaborate with one another to design and produce special events, giving students valuable hands-on experience and leadership opportunities.

One of the first events of the 2016 fall semester was Dressed to Kill: Crimes of Passion Against Fashion hosted by FLY (Fashion Loves You). The event showcased the collection of vintage designer and student-made pieces in FLY’s retail store at a discounted price. The event featured the theme of murder mystery and guests are encouraged to investigate the murders of fashion designers such as Versace and Gucci while enjoying appetizers and the cocktail of the evening, “Nightshade.”

Students were involved in almost every aspect of the production of the event. A group of students in the Visual Merchandise and Display class, taught by Professor Sandra Nannini, were responsible for creating a color scheme and display for the store consistent with the theme of murder mystery. The students - Megan Crowe, Amelia Boss, Samuel Frackleton, Rebecca Finn, Laura Baxter, and myself - framed portraits of the murdered fashion designers, organized the merchandise of the store, and designed the window and mannequin displays.

Students studying the culinary arts through the Apicius hospitality department at FUA also contributed to Dressed to Kill by making and serving the delicious appetizers offered to guests. They are specialists in creating original and tasty appetizers; they do so every Wednesday for AperiGanzo, their weekly aperitivo event.

Also at Dressed to Kill, guests could get their “fashion mug shots” taken by students in the Fashion Photography class taught by Professor Simone Ballerini. The mug shots included witty crime descriptions on them such as “Wore leopard print from head to toe,” or “Overdosed on too many accessories at one time.”

In addition to giving students hands on experience relevant to their classes, FUA events give students a chance to interact with local Florentines FLY is a known spot for locals to browse vintage designer collections. There’s no better way to start up a conversation with a Florentine then with fashion!

By the success of the occasion, it’s safe to say that
Dressed to Kill left its guest dying for the next FLY event!

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FAST Student Featured in Magazine

By Melissa Nystrom and Kelsey Shaw
Photo courtesy of Hylozoic*A


FUA student, Alexia Whitaker, was featured in ELEGANT Magazine issue No. 19. Last spring, Alexia Whitaker enrolled in an apparel design course with FUA where she was given the resources possible to grow as a designer. Through this course, she learned about the different elements and pieces that go into designing a collection. The styling team Hylozoic*A discovered a top designed by Alexia and featured at FLY, and chose the piece for the Golden Cage spread of ELEGANT.

The mission of FUA and FLY Fashion Loves You boutique is to foster interaction with the local community through a Florentine perspective of fashion. Once a student completes a semester, their work is featured in the FLY boutique for 6 months. During this time, designers are able to browse through completed student work to find pieces that they could use in upcoming projects or photoshoots.

Florence University of the Arts offers experiential learning classes that provide students with opportunities to gain practical knowledge in their field of study. FLY Fashion Loves You boutique was established to give students the chance to produce quality work that can be taken seriously in the fashion industry.

Check out ELEGANT on the magazine website.

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Eva Di Franco Presents Wabi-Sabi

By Cheree Fraser and Lauren Berry
Photo courtesy of the authors


FUA students interview FLY emerging designer and FUA faculty member Eva Di Franco about her recent participation at the FLY “Tell Me A Story” event, and student Kayla Jacobs who was involved in the event organization.

The Blending of Two Philosophies

With her mushroom haircut and piercing red lip stick, Eva Di Franco smiled shyly when asked to speak on her event. She casually propped up onto the table and swung her legs with her hands folded, took a deep breath, and prepared herself.

This Italian designer and FUA faculty member premiered her Wabi-Sabi fashion line on November 18 at FLY. According to Di Franco, the event titled “Tell me a Story” means a lot to her: “Each designer has a story to tell and everyone has a different medium.
Some people draw, some people write, and some people design clothes.”

Complex Ideas

Being nervous wasn’t an issue for her, although she was certainly worried about how the public would understand the overall concept. She emerged two philosophies into her line, which included a Japanese notion that even the smallest things were beautiful and imperfection is what makes it special. Her other philosophy was a Western influence on how everything must be big, magnificent, and perfect.

Di Franco decided to have two models wear her clothing and do a live performance, thanks to the FLY event format. They read excerpts containing Wabi-Sabi and Western ideas. One model performed the Wabi-Sabi text and the other performed the Western text. Halfway through, they switched clothes along with the excerpts. This represented the two ideas coming together.

A Student's Perspective
    
Being an equal lover of fashion and designers like Michael Kors and Diane von
Furstenburg, experiential learning student Kayla Jacobs can’t contain her excitement about the FLY event.  With big dreams of working in New York City for a magazine as a special events coordinator, she was involved in the event organization and highly anticipated the outcome of the event.

“I hope the evening allowed locals to get a feel of the F.L.Y. fashion department,” Jacobs said. “To see professional designers, local designers, and to see Alexandra (the FAST student selected to participate as a designer) dip her toe into the pond with other really successful designers showed the different phases of success.”

When Jacobs speaks about fashion, her passions are evident. She discusses her love for wearing “all black” and especially enjoys the street style showcased here in Florence.

What Does Fashion Mean to You?

With Jacobs standing next to Di Franco, she claims that she is one of her inspirations. They shared a friendly laugh about the generous statement, and Di Franco concluded with her own piece of advice for fashion lovers: “Be comfortable in what you wear. Fashion is not about trends because trends come and go. Be comfortable.”

Find out more about Eva Di Franco at her website.

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The School

School of Fashion and Accessory Studies and Technology (FT)

The following departments are grouped under the academic offering of FAST:

Accessory Design and Technology (AD)
The department of Accessory design and technology, developing skills in designing and constructing fashion products like shoes, gloves, handbags, belts, hats, provides students with the professional training necessary for working with accessory products. students will develop a multifaceted skills set, hands-on experience covering all the phases of the creation of fashion objects.

Fashion Communication and Publishing (FC)
The department of Fashion communication and Publishing gives students a 360-degree knowledge on all the topics concerning communicating and promoting fashion, from writing to illustrating with the most recent media. It offers a wide variety of courses focusing on fashion culture to allow students to develop their own critical thinking on fashion and express their own ideas in various forms.

Fashion Design and Technology (FD)
The department of Fashion design and technology enables students to advance in their design, technical and creative skills. It offers a solid educational base in fashion, founded on both the knowledge of fashion history and international designers' works, as well as on principles of designs and creations. its main practical focus is on pattern making, knitting, sewing and construction techniques.

Jewelry Design (JD)
Focusing on all the aspects related to the design and realization of jewels, the department of Jewelry design provides students with a complete knowledge of the matter and of the materials involved in jewelry creation. Graphic techniques of representation and renderings are explored, both in their manual and in their digital forms. From basic construction techniques through gilding and stone setting, the department offers courses in which students, after having acquired all the fundamental skills, are able to create their own designs.



PLEASE NOTE: An asset of the program is the opportunity to showcase student work at FLY, the non-profit retail store of FAST, alongside professional emerging designers based in Italy. All works produced by students will be featured with garment specifications, photographed, and published for promotion on school websites. Garments will undergo a selection process for in-store and classroom placement. Furthermore, FAST experiential learning and internship students will then utilize these items to create window displays and other special installations throughout the season. For this reason, it is not possible for students to take garments, accessories, and the like home upon course completion. In the event that a garment is sold, all profits will go toward FUA scholarship funds for future FAST students.


 

The Retail Store

FLY - FASHION LOVES YOU

FLY - Fashion Loves You is the store for vintage and handcrafted clothing and objects open to the public and associated with FAST Fashion and Accessory Studies and Technology. All FLY projects and activities are managed by the Fondazione di Partecipazione Palazzi - Florence Association for International Education. FLY is located in a sleek, minimalist space at the FAST Palazzo della Giostra campus in Borgo Pinti along with the fashion department facilities. It is a link of creative expression and exchange between the city and the classroom, between our students and the local community. Click here to visit the FLY website.

Shopping at Fly

At the FLY store one can find the creations of emerging Italian designers, high quality vintage and consignment clothing and accessories, as well as unique handcrafted pieces crafted by FAST students. Unconventional items, unique pieces, and handcrafted objects can also be found in the space. The store seeks to narrow the gap between fashion in classroom and on the streets, and its Borgo Pinti location is a perfect fit for the neighborhood considering the presence of vintage and boutique fashion stores in this street.

Student Academic Involvement

FLY is the heart of FAST and its academic activities and mission. FAST seeks to re-polish Florence’s past and present importance in Italian fashion as well as to bring back the handcrafted “lost arts” – straw, leather and knit products – of the city’s local fashion economy. The store space allows for students to grasp issues of fashion marketing, targets, store management, sales strategies in addition to fashion design. Semester internships such as Store Retail and Management are held at FLY in order to foster student involvement in a professional environment and interaction with the local community. This is a place where students’ fashion aspirations came true by offering to the public what they create.

FLY For Fashionable Causes

FLY is a non-profit store. All proceeds are collected in scholarship funds for Career Development programs in Fashion or Accessory Design.

Get involved in Experiential Learning

Individuals with a passion for the world of fashion and accessories and those who wish to experience it professionally may sign up for Experiential Learning through Learn and Serve courses. In addition to courses that are already academically involved at FLY, anyone who seeks a professionalizing experience can get involved as well. Through enrollment in Learn and Serve courses, team members may assist with the areas of FLY operations and management. Learn and Serve is fully taught, supervised, and coordinated by instructors and offers the unique experience of professional integration and development for all individuals, whether they be students, alumni, or members of the local community. Courses may be taken on a credit or non-credit basis. FLY, like its fellow CEMI, is a window to the local community in Florence. It is a space where students can demonstrate FUA’s cultural mission to the public, by sharing the styles of Florence that extend beyond cultural stereotypes.

Contact Info and Store Hours

Borgo Pinti 20r
50121 Firenze
+390552469016 fax +390552476234

Contact: info@fashionlovesyou.it

Website: http://fly.fashionlovesyou.it

Open 12pm-7pm Monday through Friday

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Institution

Fast Mission, Accreditation, Facilities and Faculty Highlights

The academics at FAST aim to bridge the widening gap between design and manual skills in fashion and accessories. The School sustains the local Florentine traditions of Straw, Leather, and Knit production through artisanal and technologically sustainable labs. The School gathers the following academics at FUA:

The School of Fashion and Accessory Studies and Technology (FAST) is structured into five different departments. Each offers courses at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels and cover a wide range of topics in the school's specific fields:

Accessory Design And Technology (AD)

Fashion Design And Technology (FD)

Fashion Merchandising (FM)

Fashion Communication And Publishing (PC)

Jewelry Design (JD)

Please click here to read about the FAST mission, accreditation, facilities and faculty



Prospective Students

Prospective Student Information

FAST, as part of Florence University of the Arts offers a variety of programs for prospective students. From certificate programs, to study abroad opportunities and enrichment classes FAST offers something for every level of student wishing to study in the fashion vertical.

Please click the link below to read more about the offerings.

Information for Prospective Students
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