Apparel Design Course

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Photos by Amanda Torrisi

The Apparel Design course offers a foundation of the basic construction, draping, alteration, and fitting techniques used to create apparel. The emphasis of the course is on the proper fit and craftsmanship to produce high quality garments. Each student created one piece to be included in the collection. The garments are constructed by hand and need to be high quality as they are going to be sold in the FLY store.

This semester the students decided that the theme for their collection would be asymmetric lines using bold color blocks. Because of this, the target customer is a person who is not afraid to take risks! The age group is between 25 to 40 years old and can be a local Florentine or a foreigner. The color palette consists of neutrals such as off-white and light gray with pops of blue, purple, orange, and yellow. The students practiced creating their designs using muslin to get a sense of what the final product would look like. Overall, their designs turned out great and fit the models well. Next, they were able to adjust the sizes and finalize the patterns. The final design requires a lot more finishing details than the muslin prototype, such as adding lining and zippers. The Straw Class is creating hats and headpieces to match the theme and outfits which the Apparel Design students are creating. The students chose to use a clear shoe in order to keep the focus on the outfits. Another step along the process was to choose which model would where each outfit on the runway. This semester the students worked extremely well together creating a team atmosphere. They stated that the class was challenging but very rewarding!

Welcome to the Jungle

Article by Phoebe Murray & Kailyn Stahl
Photo by Phoebe Murray

At this month’s FLY Fashion Aperitivo, Florence was honored to host the amazing FUA student and handbag designer, Rutendo Karikoga, from Zimbabwe in our subsequently themed ‘Into the Jungle’ night extravaganza. Her fabulous handbags were displayed on a wall of spotlights that stole the show. In the celebratory toast starting off the night, she explained that her “inspiration for the handbags came from tropical birds, especially the parrot Grees and 1920s architecture.” She also explained that her choice of color palette for the bags was inspired by her last trip to the beautiful city of Naples.

It was an absolute blast being able to walk around the FLY boutique and browse Rutendo’s hard work and dedication to her handmade handbag collection. Not to mention the photojournalism and fashion design students that ran the entire night behind the scenes. From tasty wines, to decadent pistachio cookies and chocolate cake, the authentic Italian pastries provided by the culinary students were the perfect bite of dessert. Overall, this month’s FLY-Fashion Loves You event was a hit!


GROW event at FLY

 Photo by Alessandro Gueli

On Tuesday, March 13th, FLY Fashion Loves You hosted their spring event, GROW, souroundend by green plants and wonderfull new designs by Tiche. If you've happen to have missed this event you can catch up  the photos by Alessandro Gueli, an EL student in intermidial digital photography who was there to document the event.

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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.


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.


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

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!


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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Fall 15 Final Event: Tell Me a Story

By Michelle Gaykowski, Malu Figuerido Palma, Kayla Jacobs, Miranda Porterfield, Alexandra Zofcin
Photos courtesy of FLY

On November 17, FLY was filled with fashion aficionados during its fashion performance event, “Tell Me a Story.” FLY is a retail store and non-profit project that is managed by Florence University of the Arts faculty and international students, and aims to discover emerging fashion designers in order to help promote their brand as they enter the competitive fashion retail market in Florence. Music by DJ Miki Semascus filled the air and a lovely aperitivo was catered by Apicius, the International School of Hospitality at FUA. While the FUA community and Florence locals enjoyed a unique evening, the main attractions were the collections of FLY’s Fall 2015 emerging designers, Eva Di Franco and Bastah. Student designer, Alexandra Zofcin, along with many other examples of FUA student work were featured as well.

While staying in line with the theme "Tell Me a Story," the designers arranged performances to further communicate the essence of their collections. As the performances unfolded, guests were able to gain a better understanding of what each collection embodied, creating a stronger connection between the designer and consumer. Cheree and Desaree Fraser, both students studying abroad at FUA, embodied Eva Di Franco's collection of Japanese-inspired garments and performed a dramatic reading extract of the book of Wabi-sabi on the language of clothes. The designer duo of Bastah chose to express its collection through the art of movement and modern dance performance called “Temporale,” by the dancers Debora La Mantia and Daniele Berti of the Brick dance company.

To end the evening, student Alexandra Zofcin's showed a garment that she designed and created during her studies at FUA. Zofcin's performance was called “It is, but it isn't,” modeled after the design esthetic of her garment. Her piece embodied a sense of timeless androgyny in order to personify something that lives in a middle ground, a gray area of life. The performance sought to elude the purgatory of fashion - it is, but isn't.  She shares:

“Participating in "Tell Me a Story” truly felt like a once in a lifetime experience. I've never felt prouder of displaying and exhibiting at an event. The innovation behind the event was definitely contagious, and gave me the drive and inspiration to keep pushing myself for a successful outcome. It felt like a dream to me; the feeling is one I won't forget, a mixture of excitement, tension, and relief. I am truly grateful to FLY and FUA for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”

Since FLY is managed by both faculty and students, and FUA study abroad students are given the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience outside of the standard classroom setting through this type of experiential learning. This fall semester, four students from many different parts of the world collaborated to organize and plan each event that has been held at the boutique since this September. Wether it is promotional planning or retail management, the students have increased their knowledge about the Italian fashion industry and have gained the necessary skills for future projects and careers in the field.

FLY Fashion Loves You
Florence, Italy
055 033 3175

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Contemporary & Classic: Fused at FLY

By Erica Kavanagh and Sarah Waller
Photo courtesy of Sarah Waller

FLY Fashion Loves You welcomes two emerging designers this Fall, Helga Kovacs and Bastah.

Black & White

Cool and dark tones with splashes of colors fill the retail store of FLY. The experimental store highlights two new collections for the first time from emerging designers, Bastah and  throughout the event, Black and White. Hosted by Florence University of the Arts, the event is reminiscent of fashion photographer pioneer, Richard Avedon and his iconic style. Using black and white with various hues of grey, Avedon’s portraits are bold and fun yet well posed with elegance. The photographs of the sophisticated celebrities express genuine emotions; similarly, FLY’s retail space atmosphere conveyed much of the same characteristics. Helga Kovacs

Traditional Materials Meet Innovative Styles  

The unconventional, innovative accessories of Helga Kovacs explore the stylistic boundaries of leather backpacks, handbags and wallets. The geometric items in her most recent collection, Palle, are solid colors with accenting metallic interiors articulating a charming futuristic style. Although Kovacs is an emerging designer, she is not new to the industry.

With experience in manufacturing leather, Helga began using her expertise along with her creative style to design her own line of leather accessories. Since then, the emerging Hungarian designer has focused on bringing production, manufacturing, and craftsmanship together in a creative fashion thus establishing her personal brand.

Her current collection, Palle emphases Kovacs experimental design solutions and patented plastic fasteners. The detailed-oriented contemporary accessories are high-end however very much functional and enjoyable. Through collaboration, FLY Fashion Loves You gives Helga Kovacs’ brand the opportunity to display her collection to the local Florentine community.

Discover the Inner Goddess with Bastah

The initial visit to the Bastah website will supply visual images of classic style for the modern woman. In FLY, the clothes spark an emotional response. The soft feel of the thick, quality fabric sends chills down the spine, and the minuet detail in the fiber of the fabric initiates the same response as a Georges Seurat painting. It’s near impossible to not fall madly in love with the simple details of Bastah’s line.

As emerging designers, Natasha Kontic and Brian Mario Brogi created the Bastah brand for the traveling, working woman. Inspired by the Egyptian city that worshipped the goddess of cats, Bastah appeals to women who enjoy exploring life’s possibilities and remote corners. Their curious, intelligent clientele desire comfortable yet chic clothes for everyday living.

The collection featured at FLY embodies these ideals. The pieces feature neutral colors to be combined with any other piece in the collection. Each item focuses on the cut of the woman silhouette, creating an elegant and feminine look with little use of pattern. The fabric and quality stand out above the competition making Bastah one of the most unique classic-inspired collections available. Although the collection is aesthetically pleasing, the pieces can only be truly admired and understood in the store. Thanks to FLY, consumers experience the feel and the immense details of quality and fabric Bastah offers..

Student Involvement

These emerging designers collaborate with the students at the Florence University of the Arts. The students of FAST, Fashion & Accessories Studies & Technology, planned the opening event and created promotional ideas for the collections. The real world experience often helps students decide if they are on the right career path.  Michelle Gaykowski, a finance and business major with an emphasis in marketing, also currently interns at FLY.

“It’s definitely reassured me that I am on the right path,” Gaykowski said.

This experiential learning experience gives the students of FUA a real-world opportunity in the industry. Malu Palma, a fashion design intern at FLY, has benefitted from working with the two designer brands.

“I want to have my own company so it was good for me to hear from people who are actually doing it,” Palma said.

Both Palma and Gaykowski appreciate the FLY experience and working with these designers. The relationship between the students and designers is a unique copartnership. Through the collaboration and events, FLY continues to unite the international school with the local Florentine community.

FLY Fashion Loves You
Florence, Italy
055 033 3175

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FAST & FLY's Spring Liturgy

By Alyssa Stein

On Friday, May 3rd, FUA's FAST hosted "Le Printemps: A Spring Liturgy," an event held at FLY to exhibit a collection of spring-themed designs by students and Italian designers. The exhibition aimed to portray the reawakening, vitality, color, and rebirth that springtime has to offer. The event was held over an aperitivo, prepared by Apicius chefs Simone de Castro and Andrea Trapani.

"Le Printemps" exhibited student designs from Spring 2013 classes including "Apparel Design," instructed by Professor Sabrina Fichi, "Knitwear I," instructed by Professor Lucia Fisichella, "Handbag Construction Techniques II," instructed by Professor Angelique Colte, and "Footwear Design and Construction II," instructed by Professor Francesca Mocali. Italian designers such as Eleanora Bruno, Ewanescenza, and Jewelry Green also featured their creations, as well as the Mazzanti feather company.

We had the chance to speak with the three of designers mentioned above. In light of the exhibition’s theme, we asked what inspired their springtime design, as well as what they like most about spring. Jewelry Green, for example, whose jewelry focuses on natural-themed designs and is made organically. “Being green is important,” Clelia Stincheddu of Jewelry Green mentioned. "I try to communicate this through the jewelry I make. Collaboration and synergy between people, especially during the spring seasons, is also important. I am inspired by this to create my designs."

We then caught up with designer Ewa Gerini of Ewanescenza. Her light installation for the exhibition consisted of the blooming of flowers and other natural plants. "I like to play with light," she mentioned when asked about her inspiration. "I project my light designs onto wood because wood adds another dimension. Wood and light work harmoniously with one another." Ewa also added that she was inspired by the freshness and refinement of spring.

Lastly, we spoke with Eleanora Bruno, creator of ELY.B. Eleanora’s exhibit, entitled "Jungle," consisted of a collection of intricately designed hats, and was the showcase exhibit of "Le Printemps." "I like to use flowers," Eleanora said. She continued on, explaining how she takes dry flowers and sticks and dyes them different colors. "I never do a sketch beforehand, I enjoy playing with the materials to see what happens. I am very much inspired by the materials that I use."

The evening was a success, attracting a mix of locals and the FUA community. FAST Coordinator Gaia Poli, in conclusion of the event, shared her happiness over how "…springtime released its perfumed flowers tonight at FAST, the fashion campus of FUA. This event was multifaceted, glamorous, and captured the consent and smiles of our guests." We also discussed with Gaia’s event co-coordinator, Chiara Spagli, how the exhibition was a must for fashion-loving Florentines and a great opportunity for both FAST students and new emerging designers. "The combination of art, design, and fashion with the lightness of a springtime aperitivo resulted in a beautiful Liturgy, as suggested by the event’s theme title. Who knows what we’ll come up with Fall 2013!"

Photo credit: Alyssa Stein

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New Career Programs in Florence

Start your career path in Florence, Italy! Florence University of The Arts - The American University of Florence is offering a shorter and more intensive solution to students or graduated individuals seeking training for specific industries and careers. The new format offers considerable advantages such as accelerated learning and the flexibility of program enhancement options. Each certificate level consists of 10-11 weeks and certification is offered for the completion of 2 levels, meaning that by dedicating approximately 20 weeks out of a year you can complete a full program! If you are on a break from work or seeking to move into a new industry, the timing can be extremely beneficial in gaining new capacities in current times that require rapidity and adaptability.

Program Structure

Career Programs are divided according to levels. Students will complete each level in approximately 10 weeks (the number of weeks may vary according to the Academic Calendar). At least 2 levels are required for certification. Programs may be attended for only one level as a study abroad experience, at the end of which is issued to the student a transcript for coursework completed. 

The core education of each level consists of 5 courses (15 credits). Core courses are mandatory and fundamental for each career program. Offered in Sessions A – B – C, each session lasts for 3 weeks with courses held Monday through Friday.

Optional Program Components offered when regular courses are not in session include internships to non-beginning levels, Italian language during the January or September intersessions, and 15 hour specialized seminars during Intersession Weeks.

Financial Approved for US Students!

Assistance has been approved for US students seeking financial aid. For career program students seeking financial aid through a third party, FUA-AUF is pleased to announce that financial aid certification can be provided through our School of Record, University of South Florida (USF).

Enroll today and accelerate your future career path: For further information please visit the Career Programs Area of the FUA-AUF Website. Enrollment information and tuition costs can be consulted in our Admissions Are of the FUA-AUF Website.

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FAST to Exhibit at Florence's Shakespeare Week

By Alyssa Stein

Every April, the British Institute of Florence holds a Shakespeare week, an event that collects thematic movies, plays, lectures, publications, and artistic works all inspired by a specific Shakespeare play. This year, the event theme’s inspiring play is "The Tempest." The British Institute of Florence will collect submissions from students, writers, and artists throughout the city.

This year, FAST Fashion Design students will hold an exhibition. The exhibit will focus on a contemporary exploration of "The Tempest," taking special inspiration from the 2010 movie adaptation directed by Julia Taymor. The exhibition will focus on a fashion reinterpretation of the theme on an androgynous figure. FUA Publishing student Renee Puno created the title of the exhibition, "Virtue and Vengeance," after closely reading the play. "I suggested 'Virtue and Vengeance' because this seemed to be one of the most powerful set of forces working in the narrative," said Renee. "These polarities were evidenced most in Prospero’s pivotal decision: to choose love or hate, to forgive or to seek revenge, to be a virtuous man or to be one who is consumed by vengeance."

The classes contributing to this exhibition are "Fashion Design Studio I," instructed by Professor Enrica Guidato, and "Decoration and Embellishment in Haute Couture," instructed by Professor Sabrina Fichi. An individual student from the "Apparel Design" class is also contributing to the exhibition, working closely with Professor Sabrina Fichi. The Publishing Department, represented by the aforementioned Renee Puno, is also working on creating an effective journalistic piece that will connect the exhibition to the Shakespearean play.

"All of our students are working hard on this project," FAST Coordinator Gaia Poli said. "They all have a bright and special glow. It will be a gorgeous and adventurous journey!"

About the author: Alyssa Stein is a student of FUA's J School. This article first appeared in the second issue of Blending Newsletter for the Spring 2013 semester.

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FLY Cited by the Italian Press

Fashion as the ideal association of volumes and colors. Quality as a lifestyle. Design followed religiously by serious appreciators. These elements are expressed in the concept of vintage, as well stories from the recent and faraway past that poetically enrich our wardrobes. Fly was recently mentioned by a local journalist from the Corriere Fiorentino newspaper in an article based on the best vintage stores in Florence. She stopped by thanks to a friend's tip off, and was pleasantly surprised by the environment discovered at the store, as well as the fact that FLY's profits generate study scholarships. 

After perusing throughout the store, she settled on a romantic pink and spring green Emilio Pucci jacket given that the current weather is in transition and one never wants to be unprepared for fickle changes. FLY was featured in a mini-article as the journalist's number 2 pick out of her top 5  vintage stores in Florence. It is also emphasized that though Pucci's piece may be inspired by a hippy esthetic the past, the overall effect is 100% current and will never go out of style.

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FUA Visual Merchandising Dresses Up FLY

By Faith Roane
Photo by Sammantha Teller

For the past two and a half years, FLY — Fashion Loves You — has functioned as a community-engaging outlet for fashion students at FUA. The vintage and consignment shop is a CEMI, that is Community Engagement Member Institution integrated to the FUA campus, where students gain experience in their field in a both academic and professional environment.

The Visual Merchandising class at FUA reinforces the skills they are taught in the classroom by attending to the visual aspects of the store. The class decides on a theme each time they rearrange the store; this involves picking the iconic piece and totem images to use, the overall feeling that they want to achieve, the division of clothing items, among other things. When they have completed the arranging process, they receive two sets of feedback: one from the Visual Merchandising instructor Sandra Nannini almost immediately after completion and the other from Store Manager Gaia Poli, who analyzes the practical set up of the store in addition to how customers respond to the new arrangement. These feedbacks allow students to gain a more applicable knowledge of visual merchandising.

FLY caters to this class by providing the space for arrangement, the pieces to arrange, and the professional environment in which to explore their options as a floor layout designer.

Find out more about what's happening at FLY at the store FB page.

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Outreach Opportunities: Fashion Photo Shoot

Hailey Bonczar is currently spending her semester at FUA and decided to get involved in the community outreach extracurricular activity through FUA's Student Life department. She was recently involved in a fashion photo shoot as a part of the experience.

Hailey shares:

This past week I had the chance to experience a behind-the-scenes look at several Italian photo shoots for editorial print work.  I was able to help with styling along with lighting and prep work. The photo shoots featured vintage looks, edgy styling, and detailed head pieces.  It was for me a highly beneficial opportunity as I am seeking a career as a stylist in the future. During these photo shoots, I had the chance to gain knowledge about the industry as well as the process it takes to effectively produce a successful photo shoot and editorial print. I was ecstatic to be immersed in fashion and photography for three straight days, a truly heaven on earth experience for me.  Marts, the creative director of all the photo shoots, was amazing to work with for her ideas and direction.  The creativity of the entire team was dynamic. The photo shoot featured two Italian models, Ilaria Capponi and Enrie Scielzo, who I had the chance to connect with, learn from, and bond over shared interests. The photographers were Jerry Lee Ingram, who is also a FUA photography instructor, and Francesca Fattori. Their eye for design as well as take on photography were exceptional and beautiful in their own unique ways. I am blessed to have been a part of the team. This opportunity is something that will allow me to flourish in the future.  

Preview shots from this shoot can be found on the FB page of Hylozoic*A, a group of stylists that collaborates with FLY, the creative learning lab of FUA's FAST fashion department.

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New Emerging Italian Designers at FLY

By Sammantha Teller

Fashion enthusiasts in the Tuscany area should be on the look out for two up and coming designers Alessandra Pezzati and Eva Di Franco whose May 6th appearance at FLY marks the debut of their collaboration with FAST's retail space. The two designers are represented in the joint fashion exhibit called "Metamorphosis: Fashion Unfolds," to show off their new spring/ summer lines. Both designers add a unique flare to their collections that set them apart from the rest of the fashion community.

Alessandra Pezzati is the founder of Build Your Bag (BYB). BYB is an “ethical and eclectic project of modular bags made from high quality Tuscan leather.” Her most recent spring and summer collection began in July of 2013. Since then she has put many hours into the completion of her bags with the hopes that she can create a look for the everyday women. In general Alessandra gets her inspiration from the concept of functionality fashion. Her bags are able to bring the wearer options from a day to day basis as well as provide freedom from the ordinary. From the brand's multitude of colors to its various add-ons, the style brings expression to women of all ages. For the collection being shown on May 6th, she states that her inspiration comes from Florence. She wanted this collection to be dedicated to the “traditional colors and feels of the Florentine countryside.” Alessandra is curious to discover what the public’s reactions towards her new line will be but she hopes for the best. She is extremely excited to be showing at FLY and can't wait for people to see her newest line that is a “quality item to last.”

Eva Di Franco is the founder of 2enty26. The line is “a creative brainwave investigating the relationships between human body and cloth, for a three-dimensional fashion experience.”  Eva’s collections are made of jersey material for comfort and freedom. The new spring/summer collection allows for different ways of wearing as well as elastic and oversized comfort. For this collection Eva takes inspiration from the culture of Japan. She uses Japanese aesthetic principles to portray the collections simplistic geometric forms and basic elements of design. This gives her collection a timeless and natural aspect that can work for any age group's wardrobe.  Eva states that “she has shown her most recent collection before and has gotten a good response from the public, so she is hoping to have the same from the audience visiting FLY.” 

Metamorphosis: Fashion Unfolds also features the coursework of FUA students involved in the Spring 2014 fashion courses at FAST. Both featured emerging designers are extremely excited and hope to inspire young people today trying to pursue their dreams in the fashion industry. 

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Students Develop Fashion Blog Project

By Christine Hsu
Photo courtesy of Exclusive Fashion Tours

Many FUA courses provide hands-on experiences for students, and one notable example is a blog project with Exclusive Fashion Tours, a personal shopping company, conducted with the Fashion Marketing class. Targeting international customers, Alessio Maltese, the Project Manager of Exclusive Fashion Tours, reached out to FUA in Spring 2014 hoping to develop the structure of the blog for their company’s website with the students:

“It was the first time that we involved such a diverse group in one of our projects and we're very happy about the results obtained. Interacting with an academic course attended by students from abroad has been an important factor, especially considering that we have many clients from the USA, for example.”

Professor Sandra Nannini guided the students academically. “They had the chance to meet a real entrepreneur, and to understand and to learn how to present a real project.” Throughout the project, the students had three meetings with the company to discuss and present their ideas. It was a real challenge to learn to satisfy the entrepreneur’s goals: the students needed to research and study the company and to understand the nature of the market and the target consumer.

Alessio commented, “Perhaps the greatest initial challenge for the students was understanding our client target in terms of blog development. Our clients are top spenders for the luxury sector and represent lifestyles and social media and web habits that are complex to forecast. Putting themselves in the clients' shoes and understanding them was a decisive step for the student team.”

The students and Alessio collected many ideas, and he shares that “a majority of them were in line with our company objectives.” The students provided suggestions that were useful, such as integrating Instagram, the possibility to create short novels about the luxury world, as well as social media such as SnapChat.

Exclusive Fashion Tours is currently working on getting the blog section up and running. In the upcoming fall semester, the Fashion Marketing course will continue to collaborate with the company by providing content to the blog. Students will not only gain insight and practical skills through these experiences, but also get to see their work and effort to be located on the company’s website. 

Exclusive Fashion Tours provides personal shopping and fashion-related services in Italy. See the company website for further information.

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Interdisciplinary Art: Food and Fashion

By Christine Hsu
Photo courtesy of FLY

Since Fall 2013, Professor Sandra Nannini and Chef Simone De Castro have been collaborating together to provide a multidisciplinary experience toVisual Merchandise and Display students. Throughout the course, students not only develop skills and an understanding of visual merchandising with a main focus on the retail and fashion industries, but they also get to experiment with food styling and design as one of the course projects.

In Spring 2014, the class worked on the theme “metamorphosis” by transforming raspberries from a solid substance into liquid form, and subsequently from liquid back to solid with stylish designs. Chef De Castro, who oversees pastry courses at Apicius, mentions the transformation of raspberries from seeds to flowers and fruit. Metamorphosis is something that happens in everyday life, to plants and to people. For example, we all transform every morning from an unconscious state to being active and awake. “We can apply this to everyday life! Every day, we change.”

This summer season, the students created beautiful flower decorations that were displayed at FLY, the fashion campus’ retail store, for a Summer Sale and Aperitivo event. Moreover, the students were also in charge of the colorful éclairs for the aperitivo. In this botanically-themed project, Chief De Castro emphasized colors and sensations. “The application of color to the pastries was [to make them resemble] the flowers.” There were also “lollypop” macarons that resembled flowers as part of the pastry and fashion display.

Professor Nannini observed the student response to the collaboration, “Students are very interested and ready to participate. They also improve from this experience. They learn how to deal with diverse products.” It is also very interesting what Chef De Castro answered when asked what he wants the students to gain from the experience: “Only one thing. To learn how to follow your instincts.” We look forward to the ongoing collaboration of the food and fashion departments and the spark it will create the upcoming fall.

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Interview with Emerging Designer Eva Di Franco

Interview text by Gaia Poli
Photo styled by Anamaria Osorio and shot by Kelsey Riggs

Eva Di Franco is the current Emerging Designer at the FLY Fashion Loves You boutique and instructor at FUA for Fashion Design Studio classes. In this interview conducted by FLY's experiential learning team composed of coordinator Gaia Poli and students Anamaria Osorio and Kelsey Riggs, Eva shares the many sides of her creative perspective and design inspirations.

Eva, what often ignites your creativity? 

Most of the time it is fabric that inspires my work because of its physical reaction, how it works and behaves on the clothing stand. That is why I work directly from the stand rather than sketching first, my sketches are usually the final step. Fabric is quite inspiring for designers. I am very much into the “no waste” philosophy, so I avoid cutting away the fabric and work with what I have at disposal. The abundance of fabric is not only an inspiration for me but a value and definitely an element to play with. Color also can inspire me. My last collection was called “Whites” and true to its name, it was all white. 

What do you do when you feel blocked and not inspired? 

I think inspiration is pretty much everywhere, so if I don't feel any inspiration whatsoever it means that I haven't looked or focused properly. I don't usually get stuck in too many creative ruts. I am very curious, and I always look for new people, objects, shows, or exhibitions.

Name a person, character, or icon in the past or present who inspires you. 

One is for sure Elsa Schiaparelli, a designer from the 1930s. She was cool, very smart, and ironic in her designs. Many designers were inspired by her and her work. She was a very independent woman for her time. Another individual is a bit of a crazy one, Yayoi Kusama. She is a Japanese artist who inspires me for her obsessions; her work is based on obsession and repetition. 

Where do you see or would like to see your collections in 5 years?

I would like to see my clothes around the world, in different countries. I am aware of spreading a language that is universal, an aesthetic and conceptual value that can be interpreted different throughout the world. My ideal target is a confident and creative person, and I fully trust my customers’ individuality!

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Tie Me Up Couture: A Fashion Education

By Lauren Fromin

Upon purchasing the season's latest trends how much thought goes into the decision - aside from,"Will this break the bank?" Do questions such as how on earth did was this made, who designed it and why, here out of all places, am I able to buy this item at this very store ever cross your mind?  Most likely the overlooked details of a purchase can in fact be the most intriguing. As a society, we are encouraged not to take things for granted and to appreciate everything we have. If you knew the answers to some of these questions, surely you would appreciate your purchase for more than just how it looks on you.

Enter Tie Me Up Couture, and its fashion insider creator. At first glance, these luxurious scarves catch your eye with their vibrant colors, creative images and elegant fabrics. But with an added explanation of the design process, material sourcing and buying procedures, the scarves take on a life of their own with each piece suddenly going from a seasonal product to a must have accessory. Recently, FUA students had the opportunity to visit with TMUC for an in-depth chat about the creative and retail processes. Learning about the world class dyes, local Tuscan production and exhibition of artist designs, the creator offered a world of information not available to the naked eye. This knowledge added so much value and desire to the scarves that the cost seemed like a steal in the end. 

Understanding the buying process of getting the product into stores was a world of its own. The owner of TMUC, being a business woman of other high-end products for some of the world's top fashion houses took the time to explain the complicated and intimidating practice of fashion buying. Her confidence was evident, through years of experience and success, with such deep knowledge of the industry, there was no question of her level of expertise. She explained the quality of the dyes and fabrics, why and how they are used with different designs. She briefed over the trends in different regions, during different seasons and what sells best when and where. She took care in describing the purpose of fashion buyers, preferences in quantity and style of department stores compared to boutiques, and how to get a product on the shelves. 

There weren't enough pages in a notebook to transcribe all the key points she went over. With each thought came more awareness for the care that goes into the entire process of conceptualizing, designing, producing and finally selling a single item - that we so easily overlook.  If only we could get a similar presentation for everything else we ever considered buying, no doubt then we would really break the bank.

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