Fashion, Food & International Friends




Fashion Group Projects

The Milan weather that I had been warned about multiple times before arriving, showed its face this week. It rained almost everyday and the highest temperature we reached was 60 degrees Fahrenheit. As someone from Southern California, I am not accustomed to very cold weather. However, I very much enjoy the cold because I see so little of it and I have a lot of winter clothing I haven’t been able to use. Here, all of my winter clothing is being put to use. However, as the subheading indicates, I do not wish to speak about the cold weather. This week I had to work on one of the group projects I need for school. This project is for my management of fashion companies class, the only English class I take at Bocconi. I particularly like this class because it is full of students from all around the world. 

In my group, there are two Americans (myself and my roommate), one Italian (my friend Erica), two boy from the Netherlands, and one guy from Germany. I didn’t know any of the boys beforehand, we kind of just became a group because we need a minimum of 6 people in a group. Fortunately, the people that tend to study abroad are all very open-minded or willing to accept others. Therefore, on Friday, when it came time to meet up and research out topic, we all seemed to click very well. We were assigned the Italian brand Brunello Cucinelli as our main focus of analysis. Part B of the assignment is to compare it to another Italian brand, Loro Piana. This project requires we analysis various aspects of the brand as well as their physical stores.

Group project in the Rain

We decided to meet up on Friday to visit the stores and collect our data. I was a little nervous at first because we didn’t really know each other. I didn’t mind doing the project with them but I was really hoping they were people who did their part and didn’t slack off. We decided to meet up at a cafe before we went inside the stores. This is where the first encounters would occur and we would see who was the dead-weight of the group. As we sat outside the cafe looking at the notes from class, everything seemed to flow really well. One of the guys was not able to make it, but the two that did show up were ready to work. However, the atmosphere was not strictly professional, we actually all got along.

We divided the work and separated ourselves into two groups, each going into both stores to gather our observations and make sure we didn’t miss anything. Erica, Alondra (my roommate) and I were one group, while Eric (the German) and Hidde (one of the Dutch boys) were another. Thankfully the stores were next to each other. The girls and I decided to go to Loro Piana first, while the boys went to Cucinelli. To sum up the experience, Loro Piana left us with a sour flavor in our mouths. They followed us everywhere we went. We felt like we couldn’t touch anything without being yelled at or something. Fortunately, none of us got yelled at but it was a very uncomfortable environment. While in Cucinelli we felt more free to roam the store, while still feeling comfortable speaking to someone. 

The Aftermath

After we visited both stores, we met back up at the same cafe. We compared notes and all recollected which parts we had to do for the entire project. However, what I remember mostly was the good laugh we had at the cafe. I enjoy talking with people from other countries because we always seem to have something to talk about. It is really fun to compare our countries and also answer their questions. Especially things we find a little weird or just different from our own culture. Of course a few Trump questions came up, but it was all in good fun.

After having a very loud conversation and laughing too much in the cafe and probably annoying everyone else, we decided to walk around a bit. The center of Milan is really big and since we all seemed to get along we thought it was a good idea to walk around a little. We went inside several shops and just looked around and jokes about pitching in to buy some expensive clothing from couture brands. The guys had to leave, but Erica, Alondra and I had lunch. Erica took us a shop called Luini, where we had panzerotti. We looked around some shops and had a nice time joking around. 

The end of the day

It was really interesting to meet these boys and connect really well with them. It is the part I looked forward to the most while abroad. Our small fashion project turned into a fun day with some new friends. These experiences remind me that even though we have our differences, we can always find common ground. I find that the best common ground is usually comedy, but that is just my experience. 

A picture of the shop where we had lunch and the panzerotti with Erica. (I forgot to take a picture of the hot-pocket-like food).
The store window of Loro Piana, one of the brands we need to analysis and compare to with Cucinelli.
The main store window at Brunello Cucinelli the main brand we are analyzing for our project.
A glimpse at how ellaborate the store display is at Brunello Cucinelli, located in the Fashion District of Milan.