Portugal may have a new school of design and fashion in the next three years. The Italian Instituto Europeo di Design (IED) is interested in expanding the operation to Lisbon or Porto and was at ModaLisboa to introduce itself to the Portuguese. “If we are here it is because we are interested in Portugal. It’s not just about the similar way we look at fashion, but how we interact and transmit knowledge”, tells PÚBLICO Riccardo Balbo, academic director of the IED Group.
If the expansion comes to fruition, Portugal will be the fourth country in the IED network, with 11 design schools in Italy, Spain and Brazil. The history of the institution goes back to 1966, when it was founded by Francesco Morelli, in Milan. “It’s a fantastic story. He rented an apartment and asked a friend to design a brochure. With the money from the students who signed up, he paid for the house ”, proudly tells the person in charge.
The aim of the school was to bring something different to design teaching, in the wake of the May 1968 student revolts. “In 1967, when the courses started, generations wanted to learn in a different way. Francesco Morelli invented a school where he taught what people were asking for,” he adds. Currently, they are divided into four teaching areas: Design, Fashion, Communication and Management, Arts and Restoration and Visual Arts.
This practical way of teaching, where “you give people tools to do what they want”, is something that echoes mainly in Mediterranean culture. And it is a vision that is linked to the very principles of design, he asserts: “Putting intelligence at the service of increasing the quality of life.”
Although Portugal “has a different sea”, he says with humour, it has a similar culture when it comes to teaching. “We transmit knowledge through the process of observation. We set an example and put students in a position to do things”, she observes, arguing that this agility is not found in universities.
For now, the organization has not yet defined the city where it wants to open the school, a plan with a view to the next three years. “Portugal is not that big, but at the end of the day, Lisbon or Porto is where the density is. And that’s where we have the fashion weeks”, he argues.
Riccardo Balbo has doubts about the pertinence of a country “which is not that big” having two fashion weeks. “In Italy, we have fashion week in Milan and then something different, but equally important in Florence, Pitti Uomo”, he exemplifies. And he reinforces: “I think the two [ModaLisboa e Portugal Fashion] should be differentiated. It’s never good to compete.”
Soon, the winner of ModaLisboa’s new talent contest, Sangue Novo, will be on her way to IED in Milan. Inês Barreto will attend the Fashion Design master’s course worth more than 20,000 euros.
IED’s partnership with ModaLisboa also resulted in the fashion show of six students from design schools in the capital’s event. On Saturday, March 11, Nicolò Artibani, Lorenzo Attanasio, Alessandro Bonini, Gaia Ceglie, Luca De Prà and Maria Eleonora Pignata presented their proposals.