Explore the renowned London campus with School Director Charlotte Gorse and alumni labels, Fyodor Golan and JPL Atelier.

Istituto Marangoni fashion school director interview

All Clothing JPL ATELIER.

Istituto Marangoni fashion school director interview
All Clothing JPL ATELIER.

Enrolling at fashion and design college Istituto Marangoni is to become part of an international network of burgeoning trendsetters, schooled by tutors deeply embedded within the creative industries. Shoreditch’s London campus has gravitated towards the centre of the neighbourhood’s creative community, connecting students and mentors through lectures, internships and invaluable face-to-face events.

The school’s study abroad schemes have introduced international students to all London has to offer as an experimental fashion epicentre, and in turn, helped establish young brands on a global stage. Since 2015, the London school has been under the expert instruction of fashion jeweller, lecturer and academic, Charlotte Gorse as School Director. Wonderland spoke to Gorse about how Istituto Marangoni supplies emerging designers with the tools, knowledge and connections to navigate their chosen paths after graduation, as well as two fashion Houses whose careers were cultivated by the lessons they learnt with London’s Istituto: Fyodor Golan and JPL Atelier.

Istituto Marangoni fashion school london

All clothing FYODOR GOLAN.

Istituto Marangoni fashion school london
All clothing FYODOR GOLAN.

Charlotte Gorse

WL: What would you say the most important responsibilities of your role are?
CG: Developing young minds and creative spirits to navigate both global and UK trends, with confidence, resilience and a strong academic knowledge. Enabling brilliant industry professionals and faculty to build real world chemistry in the safe environment of our school course structure. Devising new ways of teaching about fashion, design and creativity, with a uniquely London and Italian worldview.

And what strategies do you use to support emerging designers?
We believe that talent is activated by both intentional academic course approaches – such as industry tutors, projects and internships, as well as ‘accidental discovery’ in workshops, events and networking opportunities. Our fortnightly ‘aperitivo’ evenings bring students together with tutors, alumni and industry to network and learn how to navigate the creative industries. We also support students and alumni to apply for industry competitions and jobs, and finally, support one to launch their own
collection internationally every year.

How do you bring the students into the local creative communities?
The school is an active membrane with Shoreditch at many levels, from focused workshops organised with industry professionals, to guest speakers coming regularly to meet the students. We also organise events and talks — such as the ‘In Conversation With’, where we had Mandi Lennard [of brand and fashion consultancy agency Mandi’s Basement] and Lulu Kennedy [founder of non-profit support initiative for emerging designers, Fashion East] for the last two episodes — and many different kinds of events to facilitate our student’s access to protagonists of the London creative scene.Industry projects are also an essential part of our students’ curricula. Some of our alumni are now successful members of the contemporary fashion community and that’s an additional link we nurture as a way for our pupils to connect with like-minded creatives.

Why do you think it’s so important to establish these real-life connections?
On the school’s side, it’s important for students to get inspired by those who’ve managed to build their own path in the industry. Having the chance to talk with people that are doing the actual job, facing all the day-to-day obstacles (and satisfactions) is needed to have a clear idea of what the reality is. From an industry angle, it’s a must to work with young creatives too, to get their contribution and fresh ideas. Creative industries must absorb as much as they can from young thinkers, younger generations have always been the most dynamic viaticum for novelty and new ideas.

We’re the future! Lastly, what do you think could be done to help young creatives outside of the Istituto?
Every project, every event, every occasion for young creatives to keep themselves active and stimulated is good. More practically, given that the main struggles for creatives tend to be financial, providing students and young professionals with the right assets to face this obstacle can be game-changing. Space is also important – there’s a lot of space in London that could be better optimised. And exposure too; at times it seems better to give visibility to brands and names that consumers are familiar with, but it’s interesting to also test the market with emerging names and see what the reaction is to those too.

Istituto Marangoni JPL Atelier interview

All Clothing JPL ATELIER.

Istituto Marangoni JPL Atelier interview
All Clothing JPL ATELIER.

Fyodor Golan

Since its launch in 2011, Fyodor Golan has received the seal of approval from a host of fashion’s most influential voices: the brand picked up the Fashion Fringe award for their second collection that year, became the youngest label to be spotlighted in the V&A’s Fashion in Motion series in 2012, was selected for the BFC Fashion Trust in both 2016 and 2017, and has dressed the likes of Madonna, Rihanna, Ariana Grande and Zendaya along the way. No biggie.

Co-founded by designers Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman, Fyodor Golan has become known for its use of vivid colours and patterns, modern tech fabrications and unconventional collaborations with iconic household names like My Little Pony, Chupa Chups, the Power Puff Girls and Coca-Cola. Very on-brand for the Met Gala 2019 theme if you ask us.

WL: Give us the low-down, what’s your journey been like as a brand?
FG: For our second season we won the Fashion Fringe award, which launched our brand and brought us to the schedule of London Fashion Week. That’s when we started to see it as more of a business. Since then, we’ve started to work with great retailers such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, and had the opportunity to present our work at the V&A Museum as part of Fashion in Motion. With the SS15 season our vision was launched on an international level. This really helped our brand to grow and to develop our own visual
language, by seeing it sold in stores and people buying and wearing it.

Where do you start to look for inspiration at the beginning of designing a collection?
It always starts with the question: what colour do we focus on this season? Overall, the Fyodor Golan brand has a 360-degree overview, with everything from T-shirts to evening dresses, to tailoring and sportswear. We don’t want to be known for one specific style, fabrication or print. It’s about having an experiential level to the brand. Each collection has its own spirit, but each dress has its own soul.

How do you to come to decide on these collaborators?
Something we believe in or feel part of. My Little Pony was Golan’s childhood obsession, and therefore it was amazing to create our own My Little Pony artworks and interpretations. I love gaining access to brands’ archives and learning in depth about the history of each of them – for example, [Salvador] Dalí’s logo for Chupa Chups. These brands have such a rich visual language that we are drawn to. In the last year we have developed the brand’s sustainable practices and stopped using plastic. We then collaborated with Plastic Oceans UK, a charity devoted to clean oceans. With their help, we organised teams of volunteers to clean UK beaches collecting plastic waste to build a large-scale installation for our show, and later on as a retail experience in Liberty London.

What can we look forward to next from you? Any hints on the next brand collab?
We have just launched our Pre-Fall collection and are now working on the new Resort SS20 season. We are very excited to collaborate with an amazing visually charged brand for the next show this coming September – it has great energy, and a message that we are excited to bring into our new collection.

Istituto Marangoni Fyodor Golan interview

All clothing FYODOR GOLAN and shoes SONIA RYKIEL.

Istituto Marangoni Fyodor Golan interview
All clothing FYODOR GOLAN and shoes SONIA RYKIEL.

JPL Atelier

After completing an undergraduate degree at The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, a business course at Central Saint Martins, a Masters in Fashion Design at Istituto Marangoni and a following seven years in the luxury fashion industry, Juliana Ponce de Leon officially launched eco-luxe label JPL Atelier this year.

With a storytelling approach, the brand champions women of the past and present, linking their stories and history with a forward-looking commitment to sustainability. JPL’s most recent collection “Les Bases”, which dropped in May, is ethically made entirely from bamboo silk and dedicated to “millennial girls who have found their voices and are starting to use them to tell their own stories.”

WL: Why did you decide to launch your own fashion brand?
JA: I have always considered my approach to fashion design to be a sacred, creative and transcendental output. To me design is a manifestation of one’s past and present perspective of the world in addition to our constant desire to understand the multifaceted concept of beauty. And with that notion, I decided to launch my own label to give myself a voice as well as creative freedom. I want to make beautiful pieces for women who will use them as tools to express their own identity.

What struggles have you faced in the process, and how did you overcome them?
I don’t think struggle is the word, but I have the perpetual need to educate myself on absolutely everything outside of the design studio. Running a label is no easy task, but building a label is the ultimate achievement. The art of business comes hand in hand with experience, strict time management, the ability to adapt, and the constant necessity to keep educating oneself. Even with an undergraduate fashion design degree (FIDM), a master’s fashion design degree & incredible internships with iconic brands (Istituto Marangoni), seven years of working in the luxury fashion industry, and a luxury business short course (Central Saint Martins) under my belt, I have not fully been prepared for the demands that a new label brings. I am always learning.

Tell us more about JPL Atelier’s storytelling and female empowerment?
I think storytelling is the most wonderful way to communicate with one another. JPL Atelier is an ode to women past and present who have defied their position in society. And in addition, it is an ode to the ultimate woman, Mother Nature. Our first collection was inspired by the bad-ass Suffragettes of Edwardian London and our second collection was inspired by the master of all arts, Catherine de Medici, Queen of France. Les Bases (which just came out in May), is our third collection made entirely of bamboo silk. It is the ultimate basics collection which is dedicated to my millennial girls who have found their voices and are starting to use them to tell their own stories.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your brand, and why have you decided to focus on it for the future?
My childhood in Vancouver completely shaped the way I have built JPL Atelier. From childhood, it was adamant that we learned to respect the planet. I think that having sustainability as part of a brand’s DNA is absolutely integral and to be honest it should just be a given in this day and age. Our pieces are made of either high quality recycled or organic materials like: rich satin-like fabric made out of 100% post-consumer water bottles, organic un-dyed silk, a black and white linen-like fabric made out of Ramie plant, vintage buttons, and now ethereal bamboo silk. We work as a slow-fashion brand and aim to produce long-lasting pieces that you can cherish forever.

Tabitha at The Hive Management
Ryan Croxton
Abigail Hazard
Kisa Yamada using Bumble and Bumble
Sunao Takahashi using Les Beiges Eau de Teint and CHANEL Hydra Beauty
Federica Barletta
Rosie Byers
Fashion Assistant
Alia Nusseibeh

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