Design Studies, 4th Year: A Study Trip to Milan
At the end of February 2023 I was lucky enough to attend a study trip to Milan with my university Hamk. It is safe to say that the trip was an amazing experience and I learned a lot about Milan, fashion, design, Italian culture as well as myself. Therefore, if you are interested in hearing about the trip keep on reading!
M I L A N
The largest city of Northern Italy, Milan, is also Italy's second most biggest metropolis, the capital of the province of Milan and belogns to the region of Lombardy. The city houses about 1,3 million citizens 15% of it consisting of immigrants. Officially Milan became a part of unified Italy only in the year 1860.
Milan is known as Italy's "moral capital", a financial centre and as one of the four fashion and design capitals of the world. Over the course of history, Milan has gained a reputation of a wealthy city and is today Italy's most prosperous city full of architecture and relics from the reigns of Rome, the Renaissance Sforza dynasty, Austria, France and Spain.
Textiles and fashion have always been important export products for Milan but due to post-industrialization especially service industries such as advertising, wholesale and retail trade are floursing nowadays. As one of the world's fashion and design capitals, Milan naturally hosts various design fairs including Milan Fashion Week which was first organized in 1958 and belongs to the yearly calendar of the most stylish people of our world.
Therefore, it is no surprise that the city has a block, Il Quadrilatero della moda, dedicated to fashion where you can find the showrooms of famous fashion houses. Moreover, one of Milan's most recognizable landmarks is a departement store, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
My Personal Experience of Milano
Dispite the pollution, the fog, the cigarette smoke and the noises, I must confess, I loved every minute of our time in Milan. At first glance, the city is not very pretty but you quickly learn to see past its mismatched architecture, bad smell and dirty streets. In other words, the beauty of Milan is hidden and strange. Perhaps, it is the lifestyle of the city that hypnotizes: the clothing, the dinners, the design, the luxury experiences, the conversations and the lights in the night all discreetly wishpering "love me, desire me, remember me". And even though, you try not to get used to it, suddenly, you also find yourself agreeing: I will, I do! So yes, I might have fallen a little bit in love, but why wouldn't I? There was nothing I could have done to stop my heart from beating.
10 C O R S O C O M O
On our first half day in Milan we visited a very interesting store called Corso Como where you could discover fashion, interiors, food and books as well as see an exhibition which at the time was Mr & Mrs Clark, Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell Fashion and Prints 1965-74. The store was very beautifully decorated with interesting curtain like glass elements, long chandelier style lamps, design tiles and plants.
M I C A M
Fiera Milano Rho
Micam is the world's leading footwear trade fair and is held twice a year at the Fiera Milano exhibition trade center in Milan. The fair is internationally significant for footwear industry, as companies and collections from more than 30 different countries are on display every year.
We visited the fairs on our second day and honestly, it was a lot to take in but nevertheless an interesting experience. We actually met a person from Footwearology who told us about 3D printing, materials for 3D and using AI as a creative design tool. Moreover, I just went around the massive halls trying to see as much as possible. My favorite section was the new designers part where up and coming shoe designers exhibited their creations. Overall, let's just say that there are a lot of shoes in the world and currently boots, sparkle, platforms and pompadour heels are trending.
L I N E A P E L L E
Fiera Milano Rho
Lineappe is also an internationally important material fair where accessories, footwear and furniture materials are exhibited. It was organized for the first time in 1981 and since then the fair has served as a benchmark for quality, style and innovation. The Lineapelle trade fair, organized on February and September, also operate in the Fiera Milano trade fair center.
We visited Lineapelle on the same day as Micam and I actually found it more interesing. First we sat down to hear a trend forecast by Lineapelle and afterwards explored the materials. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take too many pictures, so I cannot show you much, but trust me when I say that there were so many incrediably beautiful leathers on display for seeing and touching.
Nuova Accademia Di Belle Arti
N A B A
Via Carlos Darwin 20
On our third day we had a rare honor of visiting one of the best fashion schools in Italy, NABA. During the visit we had our portfolios reviewed on which we got some feedback on and attented two masterclasses. At the end of the day the lovely staff from Naba gave us a campus tour. Personally, I really liked their knitwear lab where among students' designs they produced Naba scarves. Furthermore, Naba had this fun ribbon ceremony tradition where gratuating students rip of their own ribbon from the edge of the roof as a sign of ending their studies in the academy.
D U O M O
Since our airbnb was next to Duomo it would have been rude not to go into the cathedral. Besides, it was only inside Duomo's marble walls where you realise how massive it really is. So no wonder it took 500 years to build! Quite breathtaking! Furthermore, I would recomment going in the evening like we did since it may be less crowded. The last tickets can be bought at six pm and the cathedral stays open till seven.
The Luxury Fashion Street
V I A M O N T E N A P O L E O N E
On our last full day we went to Milan's number one fashion street for luxury brands, via montenapoleone, and presented our brand research in front of each store. My research brand was Bottega Veneta. After the presentations we decided to have some drinks and snacks at illy, a trendy cafe also on montenapoleone where a cup of tea was seven euros. While in Montenapoleone we also visited a Marni store, a Dior store and a Valentino store.
P A L A Z Z O M O R A N D O
Also during our last day near montenapoleone, we visited Palazzo Morando, a museum specializing in fashion history and old Milanise art that also had rooms in rococo and baroque style. Downstairs of the museum there was a fashion show going on so it was fun to see all the people attending it.
The Last Dinner at
T H E A R M A N I R E S T A U R A N T
It is needless to say that we were utterly spoiled throughout the whole trip but the cherry on top had to be dining at the Armani Restaurant on our last evening. I didn't take any pictures because I just wanted to enjoy the evening and eat. However, I must take my hat off for the staff and cooks and everyone who contribueted to the experience. It was a flawless, branded meal which I would like repeat as soon as possible.
Lineapelle. (n.d). About us. Lineapelle https://www.lineapelle-fair.it/en/lineapelle
Micam Milano. (n.d). New Editions 19th – 22nd February 2023 17th – 20th September 2023. Mican Milano https://themicam.com/en/
Foot, J & Lecco, A. (n.d.). Milan. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Milan-Italy/Finance-and-other-services
Angelina. (2023). 14 Fun Facts about Milan you should know. Housing Anywhere. https://housinganywhere.com/Milan--Italy/fun-facts-milan
Have you visited Milan or any of these places mentioned above?
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