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Management e marketing

Marketing strategico

12 Aprile 2015 • di Luca Scaini

The challenge of fashion education

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Motivation of the present paper lies in the actuality of fashion environment as a prominent field of employment and a real successful example of globalization and tribalism, as modern phenomena of societing (Badot, Bucci, Cova 1993; Cova 2003; Cova, Kozinets, Shankar 2007). It’s linked to its specific education, seen as an interesting business for different public and private school and universities (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014).

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1. Introduction
2. Fashion is now a completely independent field of study, research and expertize
3. Fashion is interesting in the educational environment.
4. Fashion is the real and unique global field, paraeconomical and meta-national
5. Fashion’s lack of specific high education.


1. Introduction

Present paper states that its importance lies in the interconnected problems between education and industry of fashion, the actual lack of methodological teaching and learning. The scope of present work is a general analysis of the problem and its attempt to unsuccessfully unbend from fundamental of education.

The approach is practical and come from some 15 years of experience in the field of fashion education, facing daily problems of methodology apparently solved twisting around creativity, up to a wild form of it.

The papers states that the answer lies only in a hard work and serious method hard work is what students need and companies look for, method is what we, educators, should transfer from theoretical to practical, and it is not different from every other field. In conclusion, it seems like that very often some expert of the filed mixed up the goal of companies (profit) with goal of students (working) in some unsuccessful twist of way how-and-reason for in fashion educations: education’s goal still lies in our kids’ education, no profit, not disruptive creativity, not financial business.

Fashion is the business of pour kids, our kids are our business.


2. Fashion is now a completely independent field of study, research and expertize

Fashion is actually facing the real challenge for the future not really in networking, globalizing or retail in new markets: the real struggle is already in action since decades and it lies in finding out an original way to its specific education of managers and youths (Wang 2013).
Fact is that fashion has been basing since the years of “boom” its peculiar educational development on design skills, manual creativity and very practical skills connected with physical style creation and product manufacture but it still struggles to develop a real educational program for managers of marketing, retail, buying and merchandising and most of all BA of fashion with endemic characteristics.

The need for qualified business managers and leaders with knowledge of the fashion industry is also driving the growth of fashion programs at traditional business schools. It’s absolutely fundamental that you need good management. There are really some of the brightest people in the world […] and if just a handful of them choose to go into the luxury goods industry, certainly it will have an impact on the industry.” (Henderson, in Wang 2013).

I’d mark that BA is not just admin and management of business but the fashion processes themselves are the specific business, pretty much different from others.

Nowadays the leadership of major companies is hold by an extinguishing, marvelous self-made generation, good entrepreneurs that learned-by-doing, set up a system, build up a sector industrializing ideas, creativity and leaving a gap between themselves and the “who is next?” generation, while the small companies are still managed by an old generation of “entrepreneur of product” or “entrepreneur of trading”, practically unable to manage a company in the modern direction of marketing, finance, brand and communications.

How to say, in the direction of fashion business, better than fashion trading.
Fact is that Fashion can’t borrow its management, as well as directors, from other fields, having its own specific cycle of time, management of work processes, speed and tight scheduling, creativity issues and market peculiar irrational reasons-of-purchase (Kawamura, Y. 2005).

3. Fashion is interesting in the educational environment

And it is because fashion is a prominent field of employment, with high results also during crisis, thanks to brands and luxury linked fields and quite a quick turnover, with some till here never-ending growth in new markets and its ability to reload ideas and revolve around itself like a money-machine of perpetual motion.

Moreover, the fast growth and continuative innovation rely on young people like a few field expertized before (maybe new media is an alike one), and the endemic charm stressed by the field, the fancy and fantasied form of fashion business makes it a deliberate and privileged choice for youths (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014).

Our kids are charmed and seduced by a very laying sweet promise: creativity is enough. It is more than arguable: but what to study, to learn, to do in order to seduce, instead, the enchanted beauty in the dark woods of bad economies? Most important: how to study? And even better: how to learn to do anything who is effective, but drawing? Does really creativity relates only to design? (The world’s 25 best design schools, Dickey 2012, Business Insider).

4. Fashion is the real and unique global field, paraeconomical and meta-national


In this multicultural environments the lack of Persons in a World of People makes it really global. It is gathering different experiences into common aspirational globes, like new hermetic spheres, it is creating a unique worldwide society claiming its values around totemic brands witch are recalling a shining, brilliant deity. In times when barriers (and local cultures that are representatives of them) are collapsing, physical differences get lost, and metaphysical or paraeconomicals (Scaini,2015) are emerging shaped (Beck 1999; Hennessy 2004).

Eventually, the business environments are often physioeconomical, and very paraeconomical (Scaini 2012): it is a fact that fashion is the only truly globalized environment that brings down physical barriers to reinforce the psychological cultural and anthropological ones, regrouping people around new totemic values and ideal constructions by replacing a bunch of disrupted original vales (Hitmann & Ward 2007).
Fashion has no geographical borders, now, but for endemic phenomena restrain in a certain cultural area, and fashion as a business knows a very few boundaries in term of culture and psychology. So it creates some, for good measure.

Those are specificities of local metaphysical segmentation and positioning. Beyond the physical we have another world (Locke et al. 2001). That one representing our challenge, the specificities to be taught and to be proofed, the need of evidence in research and the duty of giving, teaching, opening a real specific education.

This education cannot be only wide and alternative, it must be deep and real, not only creatively innovative, but managing the reality of what, in the end, is nothing else than our business (Codeluppi 2002).

It makes new signs appearing around, new marks of tribes, new tattoos of new groups, and new brands for new segments of people: fashion is among them the most powerful, and convoyed by brand. Fashion is now experiencing not just buyer and consumers (Fabris 2003; 2008): in fact it is not what the present paper is focalized on, it is narrowed on learner, teachers, innovators and fakes. Fakes aren’t products in a trading common sense of the word, but a product of the society: fake innovators claiming creative view and acting aged, claiming brilliant ideas based on no sense of knowledge, fake educators based on aspirations, better then inspirations, wikies and commons more than real culture.

The challenge for fashion education pass - no doubt - through us, educators, through our knowledge and experience in a good mix, through the capability to translate it in lectures and practical learning. Fashion education isn’t any theory, art, creativity. Fashion education is a matter of teaching what our kid need to learn. The “way how” could be whatever artistic or creative or innovative, just like every topic or subject. It is all focalized on fashion educators, mostly (Kawamura 2005).

It is not required to remake it all, but to reload the old educative system into an effective and efficient one accordingly to the newly revolved and twisted world (Thompson 2001), where appearance is different and substance never changed.

A world where segments are tribes and nations are groups of consumers (Badot, Bucci, Cova 1993; Cova 2003), flags are marks and ideologies are brands (Hitmann & Ward 2007).
Challenge means to struggle hard for being able to give to the youths a good method of learn and work in a world a bit more anarchic, that is our fashionable world. And why, paper does ask, most of fashion companies, in order to find a solution, started looking around following the good old roadmaps, from those ones still believing in old communications theories and promotional formats, like immutable templates aging bad, to a bunch of new aggressive ones try to survive proudly and reckless embracing the so called new theories? Because it is what the educative system is still offering, masking - or dressing - it in the same way like a runaway shows beauty.

Some company is asking to an old generation of so called “retail or internationalization experts” (do they really believe to expert now as they maybe did before?) to find a way to “sell more”, in a market and a specific field where it is tried to be taught that Volume means death and Value means all the rest. (Scaini 2012). Some other one - likewise more reactive - asks to young open minded kids to open the magic way to a much-awaited profit through virtuality: those kids are the key-stone (Anderson 2007).

They are able to manage the net and the network like no one else, but yet with no idea about practical and theoretical implication of what they are doing: they are really still unable to ask themselves the three basic questions that are lying behind every operation: what to do, how to manage it and eventually why (the reason of and the purpose of).

5. Fashion’s lack of specific high education.

It is the real problem: a qualitative and narrowed high education, based on a quantitative but not one just angled one,which is effective and efficient is then where we are, in this. Fashion education behaves exactly like the fashion business itself and it looks like unable to do both the right things and in the proper way. It is unable to be successful in forming and educating a new class of managers of fashion processes.

Old experts made-up like young charming princes and a hyperactive youth spreading wide with no real cultural bases, but evidence that “it is the way how”, never asking if it is only “one among the ways how”, are very alike “I know how to do it fine, but it is the wrong thing, now (out aged)”, or “I know what to do, but I have no idea about how (unexperienced)” (Thompson 2001, suggest the following matrix).






Knowledge requires study, hard-work and passion for doubts, questions hypothesis and experimentation of solutions, not passion for success. Industry is industry, and with a working methodology very specific, education and research are something else, something prior, with evaluation of the importance of wrong results, unbend from financial profit and very linked with those “merits”. Education knows that fails and new attempts counts thanks to unnecessary relation with financial profit.

So, no need of boring and selfish argumentation based on fancies. Fashion education does not differ - or should not! - from other educative fields, it changes only the specific way how. Unfortunately, fashion education now seems like looking for its own way discarding the fundamentals and replacing them with a bunch of blabla, swapping books for magazines, exchanging “au pair” knowledge with discussible opinions and authors with bloggers (Venturi, 2014, in a manifesto of more than disputable educative intentions, stated).

It is in fact management of educative processes, the main lack, not lack of expertize or theoretical. And the Challenge lies in education of managers of processes, not just managers of companies (Page 2013). Fashion education seems like focusing on weird concepts of creativity and innovation, ignoring sometimes normality and standards. Why are they so bad to be known and taught and are twisted into something shocking new and basically useless? Innovation in fashion does not lie in making an almighty creativity but in normalization of usefulness through creative processes.

And yes, schools and so called academicals experts from so called major schools deny it all. Hacking something does mean to force. I’d rather evaluate to study, understand and shift in as a part of, better than to be a hammer for. Why they deny segmentation of market, instead of applying some shaped one to a specific, now independent field (Venturi 2011, Loppa 2011, in the introduction)? Why deny commercialization of art (if fashion has any, let’s not assume it every time everything like dogmatic!) and deny profits, calling them better like “Merits” (Fabris 2008, p. 609).

Merits in business are something else, useful and a way to profit, and they are mandatory in research and education. They are not the purpose of business at all, and the purpose of education.

Our kids’ business is Fashion. Our business is to educate them to fashion management.
So many forgot that it is a matter of teaching something useful, real, strong, not making nonsense representation of illusive realities (cfr. Who cares, but themselves, of a selfish selfie of their own portrayed fake reality? Not educators, neither our kids. And for sure not companies, neither the business environments itself.


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