Written by: Nicole Geiger
LdM Fall 2014 Fashion & Study Abroad student
“No pictures please”, I was told last Tuesday when I attempted to take pictures on my Fashion Industry class trip to a museum and home of one of the world’s leading luxury brands. Can you guess what brand I’m referring to? I’ll give you a few hints…
Italian fashion…Florence… fine quality leather… G..
There yah go, Gucci! You guessed it!
The history of Florentine craftsmanship and leather production goes back to centuries and centuries ago, where Gucci’s history is deeply interwoven with that of Florence itself. The Gucci Museo charts the remarkable 90-year history from its very beginnings, amongst three floors in the center of Palazzo della Mercanzia.
My class trip to the Gucci Museum was to study the “Made in Italy” phenomenon. If you had asked me 3 months ago what I thought “Made in Italy,” meant, I would’ve answered something along the lines of a red, white, and green tag. Now after living here for three months on top of studying designers, fabrics, yarn, knitwear sectors and production, I know the answer: Quality with a capital Q. Made in Italy means values and traditions. And why is it valuable? Because Italians are artists and their craftsmanship is powered by passion. I’ve had a barista take 5 minutes to draw the Duomo on top of my cappuccino, shoes fitted to my feet by a leather shoe maker in Positano and I have walked through 3 stories of the Gucci Museo watching how every Gucci Handbag is handmade.
In 1921 Guccio Gucci founded the company that bore his name and became the first in his field to unite Italy’s long and respected leather goods tradition with high fashion. Moving through the various rooms, my classmates and I were immersed into iconic accessories for the jet setter, the timeless expressions of luxury and craft, show stopping moments in the history of fashion, floral symbols of beauty and grace, and the rich history and a future full of promise of the Gucci Brand. 90 years of history and Gucci still stands as a ‘global powerhouse’ which continues to unite Italy’s long and respected leather goods tradition with high fashion.
Examining for my classes designers and their influence on the marketplace, past and present has not only changed my view on fashion, but also my consuming behaviors. Wouldn’t it be nice if every brand had a principal of Forever Now, which embodies a forward looking vision and timeless appeal and commitment to invest long-lasting values, like Gucci?
Long lasting values and quality is something that is short in our society when it comes to fast fashion and stores that mass produce clothing. Studying designers and impacts of quality in my Introduction to Fashion Industry class has led to many discussions on poor quality clothing, which has slowly made me a more conscious shopper when I stumble upon a cheap price tag. Because a cheap price tag doesn’t always mean you’ve won the lottery. It usually means it was cheap to make.
Now, I like to play the guessing game when I shop. And by guessing game I mean I ask myself “how long will this last?” And the answer is probably not even a 4th of the time of the Gucci luggage from the 1930’s that I saw and awed over in the Gucci Museum this past Monday. They say ‘wear Italian’ for a reason, and now I know why.