Accademia Italiana is an extraordinary School of Fashion and Design, one of the most prestigious international university-level institutions in Italy. Now, in its thirtieth year of existence, it has been granted permission to give a double degree, one Italian, recognized by MIUR and the other English by Nottingham Trent University.

Operating both in Firenze and Rome, it succeeds in giving Italian creativity some of the most important roles in the fashion world. In 1984, Vincenzo Giubba, an Architect very concerned with fashion, in Florence assembled a team of teachers in order to start a private school in a prestigious building located at Piazza Pitti 15. It is across the square, in the Pitti Gallery that the students were able to admire the collection of portraits and paintings gathered over the centuries. It with this very often, as an open book of fashion and design spanning centuries, that they honed their skills as designers and painters. Afterwards, a second school was set up in Rome, at Piazza della Radio, 46.

Every year, the final fashion show of the Florentine school set for mid-April, and in July for that of Rome. Both events are extremely important for showcasing the craftsmanship of the students. A full afternoon devoted to the show of 300 original outfits, in the Florentine theater Obihall, with over 2000 seats, may give a hint into the idea of the stature of this event. Appealing to many students, many of whom foreign, as well as their relatives and friends. The resulting outfits show that the young stylists have been strongly concerned with research, innovation and ethical choices in reusing and recycling. Technological skills like laser cuts and special prints have, also, been widely used.

An irreverent, provocative, small collection of working uniforms was also displayed on the same afternoon. New attires for firemen, flight attendants, chefs, beekeepers, mailmen, police officers were created, made out of technical fabrics produced by the multinational company Klopman. “Fashion on the Job” collection is an important link between the students in search of their first job and the Technical clothing market.

Also the Roman final fashion show has been built around ethical and recycling themes. Fantastically unusual and astonishing results have been obtained in the dresses by reuse of paper in sisal, polystyrene, crushed cds, and so on.

The idea of a Prize named Pyramid of Excellence, came to the mind of the President Vincenzo Giubba, as a means for the students to get acquainted with famous designers and stylists. Every year, the newly matriculated students are called in the jury to award a prize to the best of a short-listed candidates. With such an enchanting stratagem, students are driven into the depths of the European Culture.

The Pyramid of Excellence 2013 has been awarded to Sudhitham Chirathivat, President of La Rinascente's Board of Directors and Franca Sozzani, main contributor to F4D (Fashion for Development). During the Ceremony, a project called AIFA (Accademia Italiana for Africa) was launched to give the Accademia Italiana's top graduates the opportunity to create a small collection of women's wear for Summer 2014. Produced by one hundred African women employed by an Ethiopian company in Addis Ababa, the clothes are being sold by la Rinascente department stores in Florence and Milan. This project shows the commitment of the School to the education of young designers entering the world of fashion. With an excellent cultural and practical training, students learn to project their outfits being also aware of ethical practices, without forgetting the importance of the environment. It is a winning formula to guarantee the graduates apprenticeships in the most important fashion and design companies and a high percentage of employment after graduation.

For a large number of international and Italian young people who want to become stylists, every year in July Accademia Italiana offers two open days: one in Florence and one in Rome, to show off the structures of both Schools and their teachers. A large variety of demands - not only Fashion - can be met. As stated, the 3 year long courses, accredited, by the Italian Ministry of Education, as well as by Nottingham Trent University, lead to a bachelor of Art either in Fashion Design, in Design, in Graphic Design, in Photography (in Florence ), in Design or Fashion Design in Rome. Additional opportunities are offered by one or two year long courses dealing with Design of material, window dressing and other such sectors. To complete the offer, there are brief courses, summer courses (of Italian) and Masters, the latter devoted to advanced research, innovation in the field of design of furniture and of design of objects.

Text by Lucia Evangelisti