Mentors, scholarships and collaborations with big brands: the alternative of the future for emerging designers

Simone Rocha, Carla Sozzani or Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, among many others, have worked with various students reinventing some of Tod’s pieces. Faced with a complicated outlook, the Italian brand intends to invest economically and in the media in emerging design.
London Fashion Week, which takes place these days, fights against two major fronts: the pandemic, which especially affects an event dominated by independent designers and brands, and Brexit, which makes it difficult to export and international projection of a industry that, until today, was an engine of prosperity for the United Kingdom, employing more than a million people and moving 35,000 million pounds.
In this complicated landscape, perhaps the worst unemployed are recent graduates. Most have been trained at Central Saint Martins, the world’s most prestigious fashion school, and for the past few decades their graduation collections have been almost as important as that of established British creators. There, media and buyers were looking for the near future of fashion. But the lack of resources and the inability to hold physical events have dampened interest in them. The alternative is then to seek alliances with powerful fashion companies, which financially and mediately support the work of these students.
“I want my students to realize that design is a reaction and a response to the social, political and emotional context. For that I am especially grateful to Tod’s; their help comes at a very difficult time for students ”, says Fabio Piras, director of the fashion masters at Central Saint Martins. Under the umbrella of Tod’s Academy, the Italian firm’s laboratory of ideas, several students have worked side by side with different mentors reinventing some of the brand’s icons. The idea is not only to connect emerging designers with recognized professionals, but also to put at their disposal the knowledge, techniques and logistics of the craftsmen who work in the house.
In total, the project has 35 students personally chosen by Central Saint Martins. They have all developed projects with designers like Roksanda, Simone Rocha or Charles Jeffery Loverboy, journalists like Sarah Mower or Alexander Fury or art directors like Francesca Burns or talent scouts like Sara Maino. The result can not only be seen on the official platform of London Fashion Week, all of them have also received a scholarship to continue with their respective professional developments.
“We support the students and at the same time they bring unusual and innovative points of view to Tod’s”, explains Diego della Valle, president of the school. The introduction of big fashion companies into schools is not new, of course, but it is perhaps more necessary than ever. These collaborations had, for the most part, sought to recruit talent. But now other types of synergies are being sought: the designer receives the necessary support to develop his work and the brand-mentor receives innovative ideas to explore in the medium term. Everyone wins.

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