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The Marangoni fashion school opens new branch in Florence, next stops in Miami and Mumbai

by Marta Casadei

“At the end of September we will inaugurate the Marangoni Institute in Florence. It will count 80 students coming from 60 different countries. Almost one for each country, confirming the strongly international spirit of our institute. Our next stops? Miami and Mumbai.”

The managing director of fashion academy Istituto Marangoni, Roberto Riccio, outlines the expansion program of the Art Institute born in Milan in 1935 with the purpose of training highly-qualified professionals for the fashion industry.

Today Marangoni – that forms part of the Global Education Group Galileo which is owned by the Providence Equity Partners – is a €54 million revenue company that is expected to grow up to €60 million by the end of the year.

It is an international brand that goes beyond fashion: currently it has branches in Paris, London and Shanghai, all providing high-level training in fashion design. And it’ s a truly international reality: “90% of our students in Italy come from abroad. And half of foreign students come from non-European countries.”

The opening of the school in Florence - that will offer fashion, design and art courses - is great news especially for international students.

“There will be many students coming from China, on top of those coming from Europe, and, if a recent study by Deloitte is right, this school will become a reference point for all American citizens loving Italy and its art,” added Riccio. “We will begin with two three-years courses and a master degree, but we will soon offer also short courses lasting one year or six months.”

Italy is crucial for Marangoni: “Our bond with this country is always strong both in our teaching approach (over 60% of the teachers are Italian) and in the training programs that are the same all over the world and centered around ‘Italianess’,” Riccio explained. “Not to mention the crucial role of the dialogue with Italian companies.”

The constant and direct relationship with the companies working in Italy’s fashion and design industry is a key element of Marangoni’s training method, with professionals of the sector hired to teach the students and projects that see the involvement of groups such as Ermenegildo Zegna.

“Our task is to bring the market inside the classroom,” said Riccio. “And not only because students need to get in touch with the labor market, but also because we trainers need to stay updated on everything the market wants and will want.”

The next steps of Marangoni’s growth path will be the opening of branches in Miami and Mumbai. Two cities that are very different from each other but both placed in very promising markets.

“According to Deloitte, 50% of the products for fashion education are sold in the US. That is why we decided to open in Miami a real University that will be headquartered in an Art Deco building of 3,000 square meters: the first BA and MA courses in fashion design and interior design will start in September 2017. One of the main focus will be on beachwear.”

The project regarding Mumbai is quite different: “In June 2017 we will open a training center in the Indian city where we already have a recruiting office for students. This way, we will have one-year or three-years courses and the costs will be more affordable.”

The situation in Europe is also different: “Due to recent terrorist attacks, non-European students are afraid of moving to Europe. For example, we have received less applications from the youngest students. I guess their families are less willing to send them abroad. As a school we try to guarantee maximum safety levels in our facilities, in Paris, Milan and London.”