Rome/Milan: NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti
Third year BA Fashion student Anastasia Kozlova describes the atmosphere in Italy at the start of lockdown as “hopeful that it would finish very soon, and everything would go back to normal. Italians were making cheerful flash mobs from their balconies, singing, playing various musical instruments. But soon it turned into silence and tension. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife.” This change in the national mood unsurprisingly had an effect on Anastasia’s creativity. “A month into the official quarantine, I just sat and couldn’t do anything. My head was totally empty, and I just thought, okay, I cannot produce anything. This is the end. It has been really hard for me to fuel my creativity without my usual habits, such as wandering the city, visiting my favourite hidden places or going to the library to research.”
For Beatrice Bocconi, who is also a third year BA Fashion student, the past few months have offered respite from her busy city life. “My days have been completely twisted,” she says. “I switched from the frenzy of Milan, the city where I live and study, to the calm of my seaside hometown so that I had the chance to relax more, but I still kept myself busy making sure I didn’t get too bored.” This step back from city life helped keep Beatrice motivated throughout lockdown. “I had more time to watch movies, music videos, to read books and magazines,” she adds. “To be honest, this period of crisis didn’t affect my creativity at all.”
“I think and hope that traditional fashion shows will die” – Anastasia Kozlova
Now that lockdown in Italy has been eased, NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, is considering how to operate safely when students return to campus in Rome and Milan. “Thanks to the 20,000 sq. metres of our two campuses, we are preparing to carry out important interventions to adapt the campus to a new form of attendance that guarantees total safety, to keep the laboratories at the core of educational activities,” NABA tutors explain collectively. While the university has had to set aside money to fund the increased cleaning and sanitation necessary to safely reopen, they have also allocated more than two million euros for scholarships and financial aid for existing students, which is the highest amount NABA has ever allocated.
NABA’s graduate fashion show was scheduled for July but it has been postponed to September. Unsurprisingly students have been considering the long term repercussions of the postponement and digitalisation of fashion weeks. “I think and hope that traditional fashion shows will die,” Anastasia muses. “They are wasteful events with poisonous atmospheres. They are old fashion. I guess that a lot of brands will go online, maybe they will show a pre-recorded video or go live on Instagram or Zoom. They could also become art installations that last for a few days or VR fitting rooms.” The industry that NABA fashion students will be graduating into may be riddled with uncertainty, but with that uncertainty comes opportunity and excitement. “It’s really difficult to have a clear vision of the future,” Beatrice concludes, “But I hope that all the changes will consist of positive choices, better care for the environment and people who contribute their skills to every aspect of the fashion industry.”