As the fashion school’s Miami campus opens, the menswear designer reflects.
With the newly honed ability to get an Italian-scale fashion school education stateside, students are flocking to Istituto Marangoni's Miami school in order to secure Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's degrees in various courses of fashion design, styling, business and brand management.
One such alumni of Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italian menswear brand Pal Zileri’s creative director Rocco Iannone, knew he wanted to go into fashion when he was just a child. His path to getting there, however, was far from seamless. “From an early age I had a passion for fashion, art, design and dreamt of being a fashion designer,” he says. “It wasn’t easy. My father was convinced that my pursuit in fashion would be fruitless. I managed to show him, through an article in the newspaper about the economics of fashion, that it is in fact a very serious business.”
His father’s initial skepticism may have been what propelled Iannone to seek out Istituto Marangoni for school when he was 18. While some designers do not believe in higher education for the fashion industry, “I, for one, think my education was very important and consider it very valuable, he says. “I’ve always had very high standards, and I always pick the best. Marangoni is one of the top fashion schools in Italy and the world.” They've of course brought those same standards with them to the U.S., merging their Italian expertise with the creativity found in Miami's design district. Newly licensed by the Florida Department of Education to grant fashion degrees (which began in January 2018) American students are now able to live out their Italian fashion dreams in the states.
Since graduating, Iannone has gone to have an illustrious career in fashion. After a brief stint at Dolce and Gabbana, he spent ten years in the menswear department at the Giorgio Armani Group, eventually curating special projects and working on brand endorsements. In 2017, he was named creative director for Pal Zileri and critics widely praised his first collection at the helm during Milan Men’s Fashion Week in February.
Even now, he attributes much of his success to Marangoni's professors, like Mario Braghieri who is now a program leader and professor at the Miami campus. He still keeps in touch with several of his professors and hires many alumni to be on his team. “It completely changed my life,” he says of the school. “It was my first encounter and step towards the fashion world, and I remember my days in Marangoni dearly. Being able to learn and immerse myself in all this creativity, all the knowledge—to be able to sketch, to actually create something on my own. It’s one of the best experiences of my life.”
He has high hopes for the school’s new location in Florida as well. “I think the Miami campus will be an excellent addition for the fashion industry of the U.S. Miami is a very interesting destination, thriving through a multicultural tradition that can only help flourish creativity—an essential element for fashion.”
Looking to apply to Istituto Marangoni's Miami location? Click here for more information.