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Italian Materials Inspire Innovation

Italian Materials Inspire Innovation

Apparel Design seniors teamed up with Textiles undergraduate and graduate students to weave exquisite materials together with experimental design in a semester-long collaboration with the Italian Trade Commission. The 10 unique collections that emerged from the studio – based on the theme of global travel – were subsequently shown at a festive runway show at the RISD Museum of Art, held in conjunction with an exhibition of contemporary fashion and textiles called EVOLUTION/REVOLUTION.

“We’re very pleased to provide the opportunity for RISD student designers to become familiar with some of the most innovative and creative fabrics and yarns available in the world,” noted Aniello Musella, Italian Trade Commissioner and Executive Director for the USA. The fabrics were provided by 23 Italian fabric and yarn mills. “The companies involved represent the top tier of Italian-made goods, with leaders in the fields of technical, menswear, and couture fabrics and yarns generously donating products for use in this studio.”

Prior to the start of the studio, RISD professors traveled to Milan and the Como region of Italy with representatives from the ITC to select the fabrics and yarns to be used. Back at RISD, each student team began working together to share ideas and inspiration. The studio was part of a senior Apparel Design project to research, design and execute a coat as a key component of a collection. For Textiles students, it offered exposure to the fashion industry and an opportunity to design and create fabrics for use in apparel.

“Working with the Italian Trade Commission and the fabric and yarn mills was a great opportunity for RISD to both foster relationships with important industry partners and encourage a collaborative design process among students,” said Assistant Professor Liz Collins 91 TX/MFA 99, who led the project in Textiles. “The resulting pieces represent a cross-pollination of work and techniques,” adds Donna Gustavsen RISD 70 AP, an associate professor in Apparel Design, “with each collection being a unique, balanced vision of two designers creating together and learning from each other.”