The LdM Fashion Department offers a rare, yet essential course called trend forecasting for fashion and design students. The course explores the complexity behind the trend forecaster profession while it also analyzes the multiple variables that are examined and heavily weighed when determining future trends. Professor Livia Quaresmini believes that to just lecture her students is not enough; for students to fully comprehend the function of trend forecasters and their professions, she lectures for half of the one hundred and fifty-minute class and dedicates the second half of the class period to the projects that make this course unique. As a student of hers taking this course, I can attest that these projects add depth to the material while simultaneously allowing students to gain applicable experience through the compilation of a portfolio.The first project of the semester was devoted to the street style of Florence, requiring each student to create a trend board depicting the local fashion. Quaresmini’s instructions directed us to begin with general research about Florence street style, using various local blogs, WGSN (an exclusive trend forecasting website used by top designers that the LdM Fashion Department has been granted access to), and Pinterest posts as sources of initial inspiration. Then, students were directed to independently walk the streets of Florence to photograph fashions as well as any places or settings influencing the authentic city style.At first, I was nervous to ask strangers to take pictures of their outfits, especially considering the various language barriers and cultural differences. As I began asking more and more people, it became second nature to complete the assignment. Not only did this project provide an opportunity for hands-on experience with Trend Forecasting, but also required students to go out and become familiarized with the city and its essence. Students in the class agreed that although this project was socially intimidating, it was worthwhile and practical. As someone coming from a school where fashion courses are not offered, this class and its subject matter is a privilege for me. What makes taking this course even more significant for me, and arguably the other students in the class, is having the ability to receive training and produce tangible work, both of which are applicable for a future in any design career. In the US, most college classes of any discipline are solely lectures, with little to no field trips, hands-on projects, or any other out-of-class experiences.Designing the “Florence Street Style” trend board as the first assignment was only a warm up for what’s to come, preceding a few other small projects and visits to local boutiques and the “Fashion Room” book store, all of which are constructed to prepare us for completing the assignment of second half of the semester. The final project, for which the last eight weeks of the semester are allotted for, entails the formation of a professional trend book depicting the styles of Winter 2018/2019 season. By the end of this course, students will have an enhanced understanding of the material as well as concrete experience that can be used for future employment opportunities.Trend Forecasting is one of the many courses offered at LdM that perfectly blends student involvement and classic classroom technique, forging confidence for students in both a professional and academic sense. Specifically, for the Trend Forecasting course, the design of the curriculum requires that students become familiar with the Florentine cultural through analyzing the factors affecting the local fashion style; assignments such as creating the “Florence Street Style” trend board are optimal for those determined to become immersed in the culture as well as those who need an introduction to the beautiful city and its people. Personally, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to wander the streets and examine the details of pedestrians, permitting me to formulate my own perspective on the local style famous to Florence. I am looking forward to seeing what the impacts of the upcoming projects will have on me and my experience here.
Cassandra Kornhiser attends the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she studies Mathematics as well as Fashion Design and Business Management. Living and studying in Florence has been one of the best times of her life. In her free time, Cassandra enjoys exploring the city through running, eating, and conversing with locals. She hopes to return to Italy next Spring as well to continue her fashion studies.