Fashion in Florence: How One Class Changed My Life

When picking classes for the current Fall term, I went in knowing I was going to take classes that I could use towards my major. Without a thought, I enrolled in Fashion and Media and Social Media Campaigns for the sole purpose of them fulfilling my requirements. I went into these classes with interest in exploring these fields but with little expectations. Little did I know, a class on fashion in one of the fashion capitals of the world was exactly what I needed to kickstart my future career.

Growing up, I always had an interest in fashion. Whether it was trying on my mom’s heels at the age of five or over-accessorizing in a sea of sequin, I was a fairly bold child with my fashion looks. I was a self-proclaimed fashionista before I was old enough to form a sentence. As I transitioned into my teenage years, my passion turned into a more subtle interest. I followed trends and what I saw everyone else wearing. It wasn’t until college, where I found the balance of trends and my own personal style.

Knowing the fashion industry is a highly competitive and cut-throat environment, I pushed my passions so far on the back burner that they eventually diminished. I decided I wasn’t going to set myself up for failure, putting the idea in my head that I wasn’t creative enough or that I wasn’t “a fashion icon.” When I entered the fashion world in a classroom setting however, everything changed.

Through exploration in various fields in the fashion industry and excelling in various in-class workshops, I realized there was more than just potential. After creating mood board after mood board, running around the city of Florence in 20 minutes creating advertisements, and acting as mock stylists for celebrities, I found not only my passion but my resilience and drive for a future career.

As the year progresses, we will be publishing a student-run magazine called Italianoles. I like to think of it as an on-campus Vogue. With this magazine, we will be developing high fashion editorials, articles, mood boards, etc. I hope to continue to not only grow my skills but my confidence in the field through every task given to me. With the exception of following top fashion icons and brands on social media, the fashion industry is new territory for me. However, I have learned there is so much that goes into the fashion world and with that, so many job opportunities that pique my interest.

Everything I have learned in Fashion and Media and Social Media Campaigns is all credited to Professor Maria Mattei. Mattei not only teaches her students about the vast world of the fashion industry, but she is an ally in the industry. She encourages her students to be expressive and to dream big. She genuinely believes in her students and is constantly driving us to success. Aside from her knowledge, she also brings in guest lecturers of different fields in the fashion industry and takes us on excursions, such as Gucci Garden. The use of interactive activities makes every student feel as though we have the world of fashion at our fingertips.

Although as I am writing this I am only halfway through the semester and still have so much to learn, what I have already gained in these two short months is something I can only attempt to put into words. I have learned so much about myself and with this course, I have achieved clarity on my career choices. Taking Fashion and Media in Florence, Italy with Professor Mattei has taught me to never give up on my passions, to defy expectations and, most of all, to dream.

All photos courtesy of Daniela Rodriguez.

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