We met up with Stefano Sacchi, who works as a sales and marketing consultant for various brands in Italy and abroad and teaches Visual Merchandising, Buying Techniques, and Licensing & Luxury Marketing at Accademia del Lusso.
Currently he is teaching lessons on an Intensive Course, held at our School of Fashion & Design, for professionals from China who have had the opportunity to come to Milan to learn more about Made in Italy.
We were welcomed with a big smile and an equally big eagerness to share with us his experience both as a professional and as a teacher. Prof. Sacchi told us about how he has structured the course and what objectives it has, and also about his general approach to teaching methods…
On my courses I usually create a study path aimed at training fashion buyers or visual merchandisers, who work to make a retail store’s atmosphere come alive and who create a shopping experience that gives the idea of a multisensory shop. I’ve tried to take topics from my courses that could create a vision of togetherness, and that are also useful for the students who are going on field trips, serving therefore as a sort of stimulus. Specifically, as it’s a short course, I do an introduction to forecasting, so on trends and forecasting Made in Italy fashion; not only regarding fashion as in clothing, but especially regarding lifestyle. The luxury market has changed slightly in its objective, amplifying greatly its range of action so that it’s not only important how you dress, but also how and where you eat, how you spend your free time, the type of gym rather than the type of attendance, the type of books you read, the type of food you buy (which today tends to be vegan, ecological, organic). Lifestyle understood as a jigsaw of your personality.
Starting from this premise, let’s focus on all of the current trends that are based on the past: vintage, heritage, and retro, clarifying the fact that they all have different meanings even though they are often used as synonyms, which they are not (I’ve even written a book about this). I try to help people understand how marketing has evolved from “searching for innovation” to “recovering from memory”: it does seem strange how in a society that is so full of objects, it is now fashionable to speak of scarcity, limited edition, and personalising not only clothing but also everyday objects, even food, which absurdly is personalised in order to create an upgrade of a person’s own consumption habits.
We look at fashion trends from the past, taken not as top-down fashion but also as a form of protest – almost like counter-cultural elements – which start from the bottom and create the streetwear which today is predominant, reclaiming for example aspects of punks and hipsters. To conclude our journey we identify how these trends are used by the big brands, taking for example practical cases such as the punk revisited by Valentino rather than the hippy revisited by Chloé, and seeing how the houses, which are anything but secondary, have reclaimed data from the past and translated it emotionally into new types of collections and therefore new consumption habits.
I definitely use a different approach for this type of course, as apposed to the courses I run yearly which are mainly followed by Italian students. The Chinese students arrive with a great thirst for knowledge; they are very much attracted to Made in Italy and also to a series of clichés that from a certain point of view they don’t want to demolish. Whilst the Italian (or more generally European) students are used to looking for unusual aspects – so in our examples we tend to quote niche brands and collections – for them [the Chinese students] it is mandatory to reinforce discussions with examples of the big names which also represent their know-how. I don’t obviously make it into an issue of difference in quality, for example the girls I am teaching at the moment work in a company that also collaborates with European countries such as France, so they know perfectly well how fashion business works in the world of fashion and lifestyle. You only need to have the wisdom to not overlook cultural differences, which are present between us and certain countries such as Russia or Arab countries rather than China. There are still people there who love to show off logos. It’s true that logos on display are also a part of western contemporary fashion, however, whereas we view them in a more ironic and distant way, they still don’t have that sense of irony yet. They take both the brand more and its role in the fashion world more seriously, and I totally respect that, but it’s important to know that this is how they view it.