If you were like me and wondering what to expect from a multi-destination summer study abroad program about Fashion Marketing and Merchandising, keep reading. Honestly, before applying I had a hard time bringing myself to make the financial commitment for a three-week long program, but I’m glad I did. I ultimately gained the best of friends, memories, and knowledge. The multi-city feature was only an added bonus. So if you are either looking for reasons as to why you should sign up or just wondering what the program will be like, here are some highlights.
First Stop: London
While in London, we visited three different museums. Nigel, our tour guide, was wonderful and showed us the sights. The highlight of my experience was the Princess Diana Exhibit. The exhibit is located in Diana’s former home at the Kensington Palace. It was interesting to see how she influenced the world of fashion with her style and how she transformed from a shy young girl to a bold glamorous woman. The dresses were beautiful, and I of course wanted every single one of them. While going through the exhibit, you’ll notice that each dress includes a description that showcases Diana not only wearing the dress, but the occasion it was worn to. You’ll also notice that each corridor tells a story about Diana and how she became the women many looked up to and most likely still do.
Second Stop: Paris
Paris was absolutely incredible. Upon our arrival we were scheduled to take part in an evening River Seine cruise, which gave both an overview of the sights to see while in Paris and a history lesson behind some of the Parisian architecture. In addition to the sightseeing tour, we also visited two museums. Musée Galliera (Palais Galliera), which held the Margiela exhibition, was my personal favorite. In the exhibit, Margiela redefines contemporary fashion by pushing the limits. His way of crafting garments involved deconstructing them so that they exposed the inside of the clothing. In this exhibition, you will have the chance to view his spring and summer collections from 1989 to 2009. Some of my favorite collections throughout the exhibit were the Oversize Collection and Barbie Collection. You will also notice that many of the mannequins are wearing clovens. The shoes, inspired by traditional Japanese tabis, separates the big toe from the rest of the toes to promote balance.
Next Stop: Milan
Following Paris was Milan, which was was great — but Lake Como was better. It was the highlight of my whole experience, in fact. I’ve never seen a place so beautiful. While in Como, our program had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Silk, which in my opinion was very enlightening. Unfortunately, there are no silk worms. The museum only has them on-site two to three times a year, but the tour guide goes into great detail about the development of the silk from the first stages (obtaining it from the worms) to the final stages (creating patterns and staining the silk). After the museum, you will get the rest of the afternoon to explore. Myself and a few other girls explored Argegno; however, we only had enough time to grab lunch and dessert (gelato, of course) in order to make it back in time. Luckily, we had an hour to explore Como before leaving.
Last Stop: Florence
Florence was hot and had lots of tourists, but that will not stop it from having my heart. Upon my arrival, I felt like I was in a history book. The city was filled with tons of beautiful architecture and horse carriages roaming the streets. I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you I felt like I was in a dream each and everyday I woke up. Gelato was my best friend. You could say it was the biggest highlight of my trip, but I should focus on the academic side. By the way, that is the Florence Cathedral (The Duomo) in the background — pretty, huh?
Our program went to two museums while in Florence: the Gucci Gardens and the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. Gucci Gardens was my favorite, with two floors and three rooms of iconic fashion pieces. The shop on the ground floor was fun, as it housed items exclusively created for the museum.
If given the opportunity to take part in a program like this, do it. There is a lot to be gained from studying abroad and you don’t want to be the one who misses out. Think of it this way: if you love fashion, then you will love this program.
This post was contributed by Breyanna Johnson, who spent her summer studying abroad with AIFS on a Study & Travel (Multi-Destination) Fashion Marketing and Merchandising program.