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INTEGRATED DESIGN LEARNING METHODS IN FASHION RETAIL DESIGN STUDIO

V.M. Iannilli, A.V. Penati, A. Spagnoli

Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
The growing complexity of the economic scenario, the temporal acceleration of changes, the spread of information technology, the globalization of cultural processes lead to a dense planetary tangle of flows, people, goods and information. This scenario involves the Earth and entrusts a central role to policies that enhance and develop its potential: research, innovation, education and training.

Classical industrial culture thought that the future would be a transparent and homogeneous technological World. Today, instead, we have a complex World, in which high technology can be combined, in different forms, with mature technologies as much as with craftsmanship. Instead of the expected homogenization of production models, today we discover an explosion of variety. The competitive value of companies is increasingly connected to the projectual ability to integrate codifiable and transferable knowledge with tacit and contextual knowledge.

Interdisciplinary knowledge becomes the qualitative and operational parameter able to guide new scenarios and global paths. Non-linear paths, singular and local experimentations are intertwined in a multidimensional thought characterized by dialogic rationality and by complexity, «a game between clarity and darkness».

The need for constant reorganization leads to rethinking the aims of University Studies and defining appropriate forms of dialogue and interweaving between the training context and the labour market. The reflection on didactic planning leads to the relationship between basic knowledge and specialized knowledge, between knowledge and skills, between technical and scientific knowledge of high cultural profile and forms of knowledge that can be directly spent on the professional field. This is also a matter of “forms of learning”’s innovation.
In this framework, the paper describes the structure, format and contents designed and developed for the “Fashion Retail Design Studio” organized within the Master's Degree Course in Design for the Fashion System (School of Design - Politecnico di Milano).

The course, which revolves around a given design theme, was an opportunity to experiment with a laboratory model in which teachers (professors, researchers and professionals) could interact through knowledge and skills, but also integrate different teaching models in order to create an experiential learning context.

The disciplinary context is that of Retail Design and the sector is that of Design for the Fashion System. Retail Design is an area strongly characterized by an intese directing capacity that involves relationship and integration of skills - including interior, service, communication, set and exhibit design and management -. This integration has been transferred to the project of the Laboratory both in terms of content and structure.

The course was divided into four sequential didactic moments and pursued according to differentiated pedagogical models. These four didactic moments are interdependent and oriented to the exploration of different aspects of the same project area.

In this framework, the paper presents a laboratory-based and integrated educational model for the Fashion Retail Design sector and offers insights on the evolution and potential of contemporary innovation in design practice and teaching.