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OPENING OF FASHION RESEARCH ITALY: A FOUNDATION TO SERVE FASHION
fashion | Project | culture | Bologna City
Fashion Research Italy (FRI), a non-profit organisation providing fashion education, a fashion archive, and innovation and research into fashion, officially opened in Bologna on 21 October 2017.
Fashion is one of the key sectors of the Italian economy, with clothing and footwear accounting for 11% of total exports. The "Made in Italy" brand has international standing, with fashion houses such as Versace, Gucci, Fendi and Armani known throughout the world.
FRI lies in the Roveri industrial zone, in the eastern periphery of Bologna.
Here, the former La Perla office, at Via del Fonditore 12, has been completely refurbished by Bologna-based architects Studio Cervellati, to accommodate lecture halls, laboratories, a textile design archives and exhibition spaces.
Fashion Research Italy hosts a Master's degree in Design and Technology for Fashion Communication, in collaboration with the University of Bologna, intended to train designers how to communicate the fashion world to the contemporary market.
In addition, FRI offers a two-month advanced training course in Architecture for Fashion, aimed at producing designers who can interpret the identity of a brand and translate it into architectural space, and a two-week course in Fashion Archives, Heritage Management, aimed at collecting and cataloguing fashion and lifestyle products.
The FRI inauguration saw the opening of the exhibition "Out of Archives: Fashion and Counter-fashion from the 60' to Today", produced by students of from Masters in Design & Technology for Fashion Communication.
The FRI archive includes the Renzo Brandone fund, the largest collection of fashion drawings and fabrics in Italy, as well as a Fashion Photography Archive database, tracing the evolution of fashion companies through their advertising campaigns and other communication materials. "Valorising heritage", says Masotti, "is one of the Foundation's major missions, because the past is the driving force for a creative vision of the future."
Innovation and research are also high on the agenda at FRI. "Fashion has to become fashionable", says Masotti. The Multimedia Catwalk has been designed to facilitate virtual fashion shows. Set up by Videoworks it uses a row of eight Samsung 85 monitors (200cm x 118cm), positioned in portrait mode, with high-definition digital sound, and is the first installation of its type. "This is an example of digitalization and dematerialization" explains Masotti.
"Fashion week and industry fairs could use the Multimedia Catwalk to reduce costs and environmental impact, and emerging brands could view fashion shows, from Moscow to New York, from Milan to Shanghai, or approach new or less-reachable markets".
The centrepiece at FRI, The Icon of Woman, is a striking permanent installation hanging in the main atrium, visible from all three floors. Portraying woman's curvaceous form, this three-dimensional LED sculpture was made by Senso Immersive Experience. "It is the heart of the Foundation and represents the woman, the true protagonist of fashion", explains Masotti. "The Statue is dedicated to women in general, but is also a special tribute to Olga Cantelli, La Perla's the most creative and fascinating designer, who contributed decisively to the brand's development. The entire Foundation is dedicated to her".
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