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The future after COVID-19 as told by fashion and design students

The thoughts and the hopes of the personalities of the 'COVID-19 Next Creative Voices'

The future after COVID-19 as told by fashion and design students The thoughts and the hopes of the personalities of the 'COVID-19 Next Creative Voices'

A few weeks ago, nss magazine launched COVID-19 Next Creative Voices, a unique look on our present and on what will happen after the COVID-19 pandemic shared by many fashion and design professionals of tomorrow. Following the thoughts of more than 300 fashion creatives shared with the project COVID-19 Worldwide Voices, it is time to listen to more than 100 fashion and design students from different schools (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Università Bocconi, NABA - Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, IED Milano, Politecnico di Milano and Polimoda).

Among the industries that have been afflicted by the virus, schools have been really damaged. In these days we heard a lot about high schools and graduations, but even universities (that are basically made of aggregation, debates, group projects and unforgettable coffee breaks) have paid their price. 

If you asked me two months ago how I was imagining my last year and my graduation, I could have never thought that it was going to be like this”, said Giulia Zucchi, a student at IED European Institute of Design in Milan. Since February 24th, 2020 universities are closed and suddenly the daily routine of thousands of students have become “just like and infinite exam session”, pointed out Cristina Tallarico, from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. “What can I do today”, asks herself Jennifer Gervasi, a student at NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milano; “Will I be spending more and more hours doing online shopping? Will I keep reading Notre-Dame de Paris by Hugo? Will I be exercising my chakras with yoga and deep breaths? Or should I dedicate myself to school projects?


Online Classes

Universities immediately got prepared to meet their students' needs. In a few days, they organized some online classes: some professors started to "live" stream their classes, while some others recorded some lessons and uploaded them on the official sites of their school so that students could reach them anytime they want. The answer has been enthusiastic. “Online classes are very immersive. You can follow them from your sofa, holding a cup of hot coffee in your hands, with all the comforts you need around you. This way, it is easier to focus on what professors teach” said Elena Carlascio (NABA). “It is like we are not wasting any minute: we keep following our classes as if we were physically at school”, added Chiara Geronzi (IED Milano). Of course, there have been some difficulties (“There were and there still are some professors who are struggling with technology, but I think that it is time for our Generation Z to use our initiative and flexibility to help them and their efforts”, adds Gloria Valenti from Università Cattolica), but in general, this new way of teaching had good results. 

The biggest disadvantage is the lack of dialogue between students and professors”, said Laura Battistello (Università Cattolica): “Being at school is fundamental to bond with your classmates, create new opportunities, confront with each other... but also to get the virus!” said Leonardo Bernotti from Polimoda, Firenze, supported by Rachele Colzi: “On one side we have the opportunity to follow classes with fewer distractions, but on the other side we miss all the things that make an art School so loved and alive.” Despite that, all the schools demonstrated to be really comprehensive and human. “Many of my schoolmates have lived these months in complete loneliness, far from their families” remembers Ariel Bretas, a student at IED Milano who comes from Brazil; “Some, just like me, have been stayed far from their native countries. I think that the humanity that we felt from the professors was important for all of us.


The Future of Creative Industry

Still, it is impossible to not have fear of what is going to happen. Students did not hide their worries for the future of the industry. “The worst consequences will be for the little enterprises, that will hardly come out of this suspension of production and selling” points out Ada Portosa (Università Cattolica), supported by Riccardo Mancin: “The worst consequences will be paid by all those Countries that are vital for the mass production, but where unfortunately there are not the same laws in terms of protection and dignity of the workers.

The fashion industry gave a good example, though: “I want to be optimistic for once in my life: I saw a Country that rolled up its sleeves and was a good reference for whoever have come next in facing this pandemic”, suggested Francesca Militello (IED Milano). Some students appreciated all the industries that converted their factories to the production of face-masks and other health accessories; some others appreciated all the brands (Kappa, Audi, BMW, McDonald) that separated their logos in support of social distance; some others, then, wanted to thank all the Instagram accounts that helped in finding a little relaxation during the quarantine (the most loved has been Jacquemus and its pretty smart social strategy). 

The current situation is only forcing brands to move faster towards a direction they were already going to”, said Mattia Zancanari from Università Bocconi. “The world has now experienced what it is like to rely on digital interaction”, keeps on Tia Rose Pezzani (Polimoda). “After this passes we will all likely be more comfortable with remote engagement. I believe this situation will further prompt brands to strengthen their online presence.” After all, as noticed by Vittoria Prosperi (NABA): “My mother just discovered ASOS!



Of course, even inspiration had to follow new paths in order to feed creativity. We leave in a state of uncertainty and social distancing, so we are experiencing heavy mood swings,” told Gaia Tassan Din (Università Bocconi). Creativity is constantly stimulated by all the school projects that we have to carry on”, said Alessia Vitale from Politecnico di Milano; but also boredom is important: Boredom is always functional to the creative process”, thinks Ludovica Corti (IED Milano). “Right now, we all have so much time to develop our creativity, whatever it may be,” said Angela Basiglio - and the only solution is “to keep your head in the clouds”, adds Tommaso Ruspino (Università Cattolica): “Creativity is born from distractions”, thinks Antonio Restaino; “You always need to be a little distracted to be surprised.


What will happen after my graduation?

What will happen after my graduation?” asked herself Maria Vittoria Miccoli Minarelli (IED Milano). “I've heard different thoughts about that: someone says that work opportunities will continue to decrease even when the pandemic will be over, some others think that this will be the greatest opportunity for any professional who will be entering the industry for the first time” explained Anna Semprini (IED Milano). “My biggest fear is that I have given all of myself to realize my dreams, and now I risk to fail, and it is not even my fault”, confesses Stefania Tirelli Ferri (IED Milano). In regards to the current situation, however, I would say that my biggest fear is that people will not learn from this event”, adds Efe Tekdemir (IED Milano). His schoolmate Alessandro Rupilli thinks the same: “My biggest worry is that people are going to forget about it, and this time will only become a paragraph on history books.

Despite there is a little scepticism (I noticed that there is this common idea that we are going to see a bright future. The Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi would have laughed to this ingenuity”, comments Antonio Romano from Politecnico), the biggest part doesn't lose their hopes. Ah! I’ve said the phrase ‘when this is over’ so many times!”, starts Farah Hamdy (Università Bocconi). I think about my future all the time, I think of all the projects that I intend to realize. I keep wondering about the first day we will be free as the happiest day, full of smiles and hugs” said Alessio Boccini (Polimoda). “I want to be optimistic and think about this moment as the right solution to deal our cards and start another game” goes on Lorenzo Venturini (IED Milano). It won't be easy: “It's like when you come back to workout after many months spent without even trying”, said Alessia Santoro (NABA); “At first you are blocked, it takes time before your muscles come back to the strength they had before and you need patience and force of will.

Yes, things are going to change but they also will stay the same. There will be an evolution and we need to interiorize this shift in order to come back in the world with a new energy” thinks Pietro Franceschi (Politecnico di Milano). Just like Pietro, the biggest part of the students have faith in the future. Thinking that they are going to be the professionals of tomorrow, it's a good (re)start.

I hope that this stop will help everyone, especially us, to see the world with more awareness, responsibility and creativity”, closes Vittoria Tunno; “We can't neglect what makes us happy. We need to stay with our feet on the ground, but our heads up in Space.”