The value of online courses during the Covid-19 period

Our editor Camilla tells about her experience

By Camilla Alcini

I've always been skeptical about online courses, but the lockdown has really challenged many things. There was a lot of time at home, and by nature I immediately tried to figure out how to occupy it productively.

I wanted something stimulating that normally I wouldn't have time to do... But what?

Through an online article, I found a course from the Institut Français de la Mode: "Understanding Fashion: From Business to Culture".

It was a new experience for me. My opinion held that conventional lessons were the best way to learn. But driven by circumstances, for the first time I wanted to try, spending a couple of hours a week for four weeks.

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🇫🇷 Afin d’aider les jeunes labels créatifs à faire face aux difficultés engendrées par la situation actuelle, l’Institut Français de la Mode a lancé une plateforme d’accompagnement appelée IFM Labels Solidaire. Découvrez les vidéos des 3 séances consacrées à la distribution, les collections et la communication. Lien dans la bio ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🇬🇧 In order to help young creative labels face the difficulties caused by the current situation, Institut Français de la Mode has launched a support platform called IFM Labels Solidaire. Discover the videos of the 3 online sessions dedicated to distribution, collections and communication (in French). Link in bio ☝️⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #ifmparis #ifmlabels #entrepreneuriat

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It went like this...

The first week, Fashion and the Rise of Modern Culture, opened with an analysis of the concept of modernity. What does it mean to be modern? And why can fashion be considered the quintessence of modernity? According to the poet Charles Baudelaire, it is the fugitive, who transits and vanishes faster, that gives value to the new as new.

Modernity would be precisely the accelerated pace of these changes, of progress that emancipates itself from eternity and becomes human. For the constant renewal of tastes and trends, the poet claims that fashion is the quintessence of modernity, but at the same time a dual concept that is divided between fleeting and eternal: it is precisely the tension between these two trends that generates beauty.

Yes I know, it may seem like an accelerated course of Hegelian philosophy, but Professor Simmenauer's explanations make everything very clear, and, to be sure you understand, cases such as Gucci, Chanel or VETEMENTS are proposed as three very different examples between their. Believe me, your idea of modernity will never be the same again.

The theme of the second week was Fashion and Society. Where does fashion come from and what impact does it have on society? Clearly over time these questions have received quite different answers. Adam Smith, the father of liberalism, believed that fashion came from our disposition to admire and imitate the beautiful and the glorious. Pierre Bourdieu claimed instead that it was a way of showing our cultural and economic background. Edward Sapir gave a genealogical view, claiming that fashion is the answer to the deep desire for emancipation from traditional customs.

In short, as you will have understood, each thinker responded differently according to his vision of life and luxury. In this week there has been no lack of analyzes of various theories on how fashion spreads in society.

Was it the upper classes that inspired the masses, or was it the working class that imposed trends on socially higher people, as in the case of jeans?

Analysis on YEEZY, MARINE SERRE, CELINE by Hedi Slimane and Saint Laurent finally bring us back to the political role of fashion in 2020, as well as the explanation of Margiela's Avant Garde fashion.

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The third week was Fashion as a Language. Because fashion cannot be defined as a language but rather as a code, and how to decode it. Dior, Chanel and Givenchy created a tangible identity before proposing garments and accessories.

Sidney Toledano, CEO of LVMH, says about them: they didn't tell the story, they made it, and thanks to the consistency of the codes. To understand more, you should see his video testimony, it's worth it!

Without realizing it, I came to complete the fourth week: Fashion as an Industry. The business aspect is as important as the creative aspect, and if a brand management expert like Paul Smith tells us, we can only believe it.

The identity of Hermès explained by Guillaume De Seynes, the consumption, the study of the most successful garment in history, the little black dress, to then conclude with the idea of fashion as bricolage: these are just some of the facets of the industry that the conclusion of the course goes to cover.

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Make the fringes swing. #vivalavida #dancingqueen #roaring20s #Hermes #HermesFemme #HermesSilk Photography by @oliverhadleepearch

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Between videos and articles, led by Professor Benjamin Simmenauer who interviews professors and fashion personalities, I concluded this course.

The moral of the story is that now more than ever we must rediscover the value of the resources that are made available to us. The IFM course is something that a fashion enthusiast should miss.

You can find it on the Future Learn platform and it's entirely free.