Greetings from Milan – Italy’s center of fashion and business! We are in the midst of Milan Fashion Week, which along with making public transportation a bit more lively, has provided me the opportunity to live and breathe fashion for a few days. From seeing buyers dining at the Armani cafe near Via Montenapoleone, to lurking outside fashion shows for a chance to get a glimpse at bloggers and fashion icons, fashion is all around.
Guest Blogger: Paulina Gallagher is an Olin Business School student studying Marketing with a minor in Communication Design. She is the recipient of the Avram A. & Jill Glazer scholarship for study abroad and is spending the spring semester in Milan, Italy.
As a marketing major, I have enjoyed being able to witness the multifaceted PR and marketing strategies that come into play during fashion week. Experiential marketing, in particular, has always intrigued me as a glamorous side of marketing, and the collaborations happening in the streets of Milan during fashion week are no exception.
My favorite example of marketing at work was a collaboration between La Rinascente, a world-renowned luxury department store in Milan, and photographer Scott Schuman – better known to fashion lovers as The Sartorialist. This event brought publicity to both The Sartorialist blog and Rinascente, and I saw first hand how successful marketing events can be for raising awareness and connecting with your audience. As a plus, I had the opportunity to meet and be photographed by one of my favorite photographers!
Fashion week has provided a concrete integration of fashion into my daily life, however, on any given day Milan is the most stylish city I have ever visited (let alone lived in).
When I first arrived in Milan, I struggled with culture shock and finding my place in such a chic world. Do I stand out as American? How do Italian students look like models in an 8:45 a.m. class?!
I was used to feeling special at Wash. U – sporting a fun coat or colorful boots was often enough to make me feel stylish on campus. Suddenly, I was surrounded by people who just seemed better than me. It took some time, but I have been able to embrace my own style and accept that I will probably never look Italian – and that’s ok. I enjoy supplementing my closet with pieces from Zara and vintage stores around the city, and am careful to not get caught up with envy when I see students sporting the latest it-bag. Getting into a routine also helped with getting over culture shock. Finding my favorite cafe and and grocery store may seem like a simple task, but it has made all the difference in making me feel more at home.
Ciao! – Paulina
P.S. If you’re ever in Milan, make sure to check out 10 Corso Como for amazing espresso and people watching, and go to Humana Vintage if you’re looking for a unique piece to make you stand out during fashion week.
Top image: FASHION DLUX, Alberta Ferretti Runway Milan Fashion Week, Feb. 28, 2015, Flickr Creative Commons; thumbnail image on homepage: Mike Beales, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Flickr Creative Commons