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Fashion design and haute couture have always been crown jewels of Made in Italy, thanks to the creativity and artisan tradition of world famed ateliers the likes of Fendi, Prada, Armani, Valentino, Gucci, Versace, and many more. Since the mid-20th century, the Italian school has competed with the popular French counterpart, and Milan has eventually become one of the four fashion capitals along with Paris, London, and New York City.
Nevertheless, modern technologies and globalized markets have inevitably brought about changes in the manufacturing process, and some major Italian brands bought out by foreign companies are now striving to maintain their original identity. Our renowned craftsmanship is endangered, losing some of its most excellent representatives and their artistry. A few weeks ago, iconic couturier, Micol Fontana – the last of three sisters and founders of the Atelier Sorelle Fontana - passed away at the age of 102 in Rome, where she used to create tailor-made collections for the stars of Cinecittà in postwar years.
Among the historical tailor’s shops that still preserve the techniques and expertise, on which the fortune of Made in Italy rests, is the Sartoria Massoli, a family-owned manufacturing business, founded in the Fifties in the small town of Casperia, in Lazio region. Run by Maria Grazia Cimini, daughter of founder Maria Antonietta Massoli, the establishment has always collaborated with top fashion houses, including Fendi and Atelier Sorelle Fontana, thanks to the high quality of its pret-à-porter products and the professionalism of its employees. In order to hand down such invaluable knowledge and skills to the young generations, and at the same time to contribute to revive the Italian leadership in the field, the 30-year partnership between Sartoria Massoli and Fendi has recently developed into an innovative educational project to be launched in October 2015. The Accademia Massoli, this is the name of the new foundation and academy, will be hosted in Palazzo Lucarelli, located in Casperia’s historical center and restored by the maison Fendi. Scholarship opportunities will be provided by the local Bank of Rieti, with the aim of investing in the training of future tailors and fashion designers, who will be offered not only annual courses but also workshops and internships.
The initiative is part of an increasing trend, emerging after the economic crisis, which builds upon ancient crafts to support the recovery, as well as of Fendi’s longstanding connection with the city of Rome, where the maison has restored the beautiful Trevi and Four Fountains.
But how did the idea of a sartorial accademia originate? “Working together for over 30 years, Fendi and Sartoria Massoli are committed to preserving and passing down to young generations the values of Made in Italy and our handmade tradition. We share the passion for high quality and attention to detail. We wanted to create something important to protect our cultural heritage and savoir-faire by personally training new talents and make them capable of keeping up with our tradition,” says Maria Grazia Cimini. She also believes that “Made in Italy is what defines us on the international markets, what makes us unique and enables us to manufacture the most refined products. We can’t stop investing on it, and preserving this heritage is a moral obligation. Only by training the future generations we can give new boost to Made in Italy, and the Accademia Massoli represents our own contribution to this effort.”