Fashion craftsmanship at risk: initiatives for young people 2023

Qhen it shows, fashion craftsmanship is extremely cool. Not to mention the utilitarian looks: dressing in uniform has never been so trendy – just think of the latest one Saint Laurent fashion show Spring-Summer 2024 staged in Paris, a melting pot of chic work overalls. But the same can be said of the craftsman’s profession?

Tod's Spring Summer 2024: Walter Chiapponi's farewell

The data, compared to what is seen under the spotlight on the catwalk, is decidedly less brilliant. And not very comforting: according to the latest Censis estimates issued by Confindustria Moda, in Italy 1.9 million workers will retire by 2030, of which approximately 6% in the Fashion and Accessories industry. Over the same period of time, it is estimated that the demographic crisis will lead to 1.3 million fewer students in the sector.

Craftsmanship is the protagonist on the catwalk at the latest fashion shows

Just take a look at the fashion shows for the next hot season: at the latest MFW, Tod’s has chose to bring its women’s fashion show to one of the symbolic places of Italian craftsmanship, the Scala Ansaldo Laboratories. Walter Chiapponi’s latest collection, with a programmatic title Factorywas staged in the midst of preparations for Don Carlosto underline the parallelism between the set designers of the Teatro alla Scala and the master craftsmen of Tod’s.

And without going too far back in time, the Fendi Men’s fashion show for Spring-Summer 2024 it was a true celebration of the aesthetics of manual work, between tables and experts working on the original set from the brand’s new Capannuccia factory, la Fendi Factory in the surroundings of Florence.

AAA fashion artisans wanted

Faced with a story about craftsmanship that is decidedly strong on the catwalk, the same cannot be said about the popularity of the craftsman’s profession. Today’s young people show that they are more attracted to other occupations in the fashion sector, from stylist to trend researcher, from visual merchandiser to fashion stylist, up to communication and digital manager. Nevertheless companies need expert hands, today more than ever. This is demonstrated by the latest initiatives and partnerships signed at the top, which aim to make the oldest of the luxury professions popular (and attractive to young people).

Silvia Venturini Fendi with the artisans on the Fendi Uomo SS24 catwalk at the Fendi Factory last June 2023 (Photo: Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images).

The latest agreements to promote professional training

The latest agreement, aimed at promoting youth employment in the fashion and accessories sector, is the one signed by Confindustria Fashionthe federation that brings together the seven Italian fashion and accessories associations – SMI (Sistema Moda Italia), Assocalzaturifici, Assopellettieri, AIP (Italian Fur Association), ANFAO (National Association of Optical Articles Manufacturers), Federorafi (National Federation of Goldsmiths, Silversmiths and Jewelers). Manufacturers) and UNIC (Italian Tanneries) – e CNOS-FAPNational Federation of Salesian Professional Training Centres.

A look from Tod’s SS24: the “Fabbrica” show was staged in Scala Ansaldo laboratories (Photo: Tod’s).

The purpose? Provide high-quality professional training in Italy, also for those who come from other countries and were trained in their countries of origin in Salesian schools. And considering that the federation represents over 61 thousand companies, generating a turnover of more than 108 billion euros and offering work to around 600 thousand workers, it is to be believed that this is a «step forward to help companies in their challenges daily, due to the ever-increasing difficulty in finding professionals with the necessary skills in the market” as he states Ercole Botto Poalapresident of Confindustria Moda.

From Confindustria Moda to the LVMH Masters of Excellence

The first prize coincided with the opening of the Milan fashion week LVMH Masters of Excellencecreated to recognize and preserve the savoir faire of the Italian supply chain, promoted by the brand itself Fendi, Confartigianato Imprese and National Chamber of Italian Fashion. On 19 September, during an event at Palazzo Reale, three winners of the project were elected Métiers d’Excellence. The names of the artisans of the future? Fabio Ottaviano, Master Craftsman of excellenceIlaria Soncini (Ilariusss) Emerging Master Craftsman of Excellenceand the Verabuccia duo (Francesca Nori and Fabrizio Moiani) Master of Innovation of Excellence.

The award winners have won 10 thousand euros to reinvest in your business, media exposure and mentoring sessions with experts from the Maison. And the project has already been reconfirmed for 2024, when it will be the turn of Loro Pianaanother Italian Maison of LVMH, “sponsor” the work behind the scenes of the group, which in Italy has 35 production sites for over 13 thousand employees.

Those who do it themselves do it for three: the Jimmy Choo case

Abroad they fare no better. According to Red List of Endangered Crafts, the art of shoemaking and accessories such as gloves or hats, for example, is a profession at risk of extinction. Which is why it was born in 2021 JCA London Fashion Academypromoted by the shoe designer Jimmy Choo: combining high-profile craft teaching with entrepreneurial training, the aim of the talent incubator school, which recently announced the opening of a new campus in Brentford, as we read above The sun 24 hours. Membership, starting from £240 per month, offers a structured study plan between theory and practice in a period mansion with sure charm. And a fund of 570 thousand euros has been allocated to some scholarships ad hocto support the most disadvantaged students and/or those who cannot afford a solid education in the exclusive location.

The solution: make craftsmanship a desirable profession

Who does it for himself does it for three? Meanwhile, craftsmen capable of transmitting their skills are increasingly rare, and the number of people who choose these professions is dwindling. Faced with the defense of large brands and groups, today being an independent craftsman is increasingly difficult: in 2022, in Italy alone, there was a decrease of more than 10% in businesses. And the emergency is increasingly on alert: not only for reasons linked to the production of Made in Italy, which could be at great risk in the long term, but above all in the field of desirability of this fascinating profession. A story that should be motivated more deeply, rather than with just one, albeit beautiful, setting.