Horace Mann, the inventor of the modern concept of school, probably didn’t foresee how others would continue his legacy, certainly not within the fashion world! Today, Pulse gets inspired by the ‘back to school’ month and the official opening of Istituto Marangoni in the Dubai International Financial District to shed the light on pioneers who are setting about reforming fashion education.

Here, we’ve got an inspirational interview with Roberto La Iacona, the school director of the Istituto Marangoni in Dubai. And in a future article, we will talk to educators from fashion schools in Lebanon and Morocco.

Pulse: What value will Istituto Marangoni add to the fashion industry in the region and how will it shape its development in the future?

Roberto La Iacona: The Institute will offer an extensive and detailed educational portfolio that is constantly updated to match industry demands and evolution. We strive to achieve the highest academic standards through modern, results-oriented curricula and educate our students to valorise their roots and culture and, at the same time, be able to communicate their vision and ideas in a global fashion. We will be integrating ‘Italianness’ (which we connect to luxury, beauty, quality, craftsmanship and excellence) into the students’ education on a daily basis through both curricula and the school’s experience. Our goal is to support the growth and development of the UAE fashion, design and creative industries by educating a new generation of local talents and to become a global creative hub in the Middle East, able to attract talents and professionals in the area.

What is the highlight course you offer? What can you tell us about it?

At Istituto Marangoni Dubai we will focus on teaching: Fashion Design and Accessories, Fashion Business, Fashion Styling and Creative Direction, Interior Design, Product Design and Visual Design. All our courses will be delivered by specialized tutors and renowned professionals with extensive industry knowledge and experience who are willing to transfer their skills in an engaging and direct way and transform today’s talents into tomorrow’s creatives and entrepreneurs.

What is your institutions motto?

Istituto Marangoni’s motto is “Enhancing talents”: Our mission has always been to empower talents and help shape the creative leaders of tomorrow. Istituto Marangoni can praise itself for the education of four generations of students from five continents and for having launched over 45,000 professionals in the field of Fashion Art and Design, such as Domenico Dolce, Franco Moschino, Alessandro Sartori, Rahul Mishra and Paula Cademartori.

Are you, or will you, apply any new digital and 3D techniques in your fashion courses?

With a view to the advent of the metaverse and the virtualization of the realms of fashion and design, at Istituto Marangoni we’re tapping into the creative opportunities brought by technological disruption by providing our students with courses in Clo3D, Blender, Cinema 4D, 3D modeling, and computer graphics across the different study areas. Key topics such as gamification, Web3, Crypto Economy, the NFT craze and the recurring short circuit between reality and virtuality and its aesthetic implications are extensively covered in Istituto Marangoni.  We do not content ourselves in providing the technical tools to become top professionals in these fields, but more importantly, we train their critical abilities in understanding the opportunities and pitfalls related to the new frontiers of experimentation that digital media have enabled.

Any tips for students who want to study fashion at your institution?

We suggest students bring their passion, curiosity, and an open mind to school. My personal suggestion is to make the most of curricular and extracurricular activities offered at the school: talking with mentors and industry leaders, career days, didactic projects in partnership with the industry, the digital resources, and magazines available in our library; joining fashion and design weeks, art exhibitions and more. It is also key to constantly seek feedback from our tutors and exchange ideas, projects, inspiration, and visions with classmates.

Are there any Master’s or higher level certificates available?

We are launching courses for professionals starting from January 2023. These courses have a duration of 5 months and are delivered in blended mode twice a week from 6pm to 9pm to meet the needs of professionals working full time. Some of our signature courses include: Fashion Entrepreneurship, Fashion Luxury Retail and Visual Merchandising, Fashion e-commerce and Digital Marketing.

We are also planning to introduce Master’s degrees in 2023. Some of the courses include: Fashion and Luxury Brand Management, Fashion Design and Digital Art Direction. The latter is a new course launched two years ago in Milan by Elena Marinoni, now Education Director at the Dubai campus. The aim of the Master’s in Digital Art Direction is to train a new professional figure: the so-called “nexter”. A nexter is both a digital art director and a communication strategist, capable of conceiving and managing relevant integrated communication projects. Experts in design for digital communication and familiar with new media, emerging technologies and the latest trends, nexters represent a virtuous connection between the world of communication, digital media, advertising and branding.

How was the idea of opening in Dubai born?

We have been looking at the Middle East for strategic development for a long time. It is an incredible area, rich in culture and with a growing interest towards creative education. Istituto Marangoni is a global player in this field, with schools located in the heart of the international capitals of fashion, design and luxury: Milan, Florence, London, Paris, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Mumbai and Miami. Dubai is the business center and center of innovation in the Middle East, a strategic crossroad between cultures and religions, a truly global city that keeps its ties to traditions despite its fast-paced modernization. It was the obvious choice for the opening of our 10th school.