No matter your shopping habits — online or in-store, luxury or fast-fashion — it's just as important these days to know where your clothes come from, specifically how they're made. By now, we know what makes clothes expensive (like a $100k gown or a $78 white T-shirt) or cheap (and usually made by a child), but also the harm they can do on the environment. And we're smarter shoppers because of it.
But Gucci is taking its transparent and ethical production process a step further and honoring the technical level of their staff. The Italian fashion house has founded the Gucci École de l’Amour, an education program aimed at bolstering the technical skills associated with the label's artisanal craft and production. In other words: the workforce for specialized factory work is aging, so somebody's got to carry on the art of master tailoring and intricate embroidery. Based in Milan, the fellowship-style program sees factory-level work respected as any other tier of the production process would.
The school's courses are divided into three parts: a craftsmanship school, a six-month program hosted in the Gucci ArtLab (its futuristic, climate-controlled, experimental laboratory) that will train students aged 18 to 26 in the product design and production processes of leather goods; a factory school, a bi-monthly program that trains people to become 'production operators'; and a technical academy, which Gucci describes as an "internal program of technical courses to meet specific training needs of Gucci employees working in different departments and in the Gucci factories." A parallel training course for aspiring cobblers is on the horizon, as well.
"The heritage of Gucci is made up of people and their knowledge," Gucci's president and CEO Marco Bizzarri said, via press release. "Training is the most powerful method and tool we have to enhance our people and our products. It is no coincidence that École de l'Amour was born from the Gucci ArtLab, which is the perfect expression of the corporate culture that we are building and developing: a place that promotes learning and the development of skills, a laboratory of ideas, an environment where we work with passion; indeed, I should really say, where we work with love."
Though the teachers of these courses will not include the brand's Creative Director Alessandro Michele himself, they will comprise of current and former Gucci employees who've dedicated most of their careers to the brand. Gucci's manufacturing base, including the ArtLab, employs over 2,400 people. The school, which was partially founded in 2017, sees nearly 60 students already enrolled. The next opportunity for enrollment to the craftsmanship course begins March 2019, so keep your eye on this space.