Istituto Marangoni fashion college to launch in Riyadh by 2025

Istituto Marangoni fashion college to launch in Riyadh by 2025

We spoke with Burak Çakmak and Stefania Valenti about the significance of the fashion college's arrival for Saudi Arabia's advancement in the international fashion industry
30 April 24
Saudi Fashion: Istituto Marangoni Set to Elevate Riyadh's Fashion Education Landscape

The opening of a Riyadh location for the renowned fashion college, Istitut Marangoni was announced in April, this news comes as a welcome addition to the Kingdom's third level educational offering.

The well respected fashion college already has a number of international locations in destinations such as Milan, Miami, Paris, Dubai and Mumbai, and in Saudi Arabia will be accredited by TVTC (Technical and Vocational Training Corporation).

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Aligning with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 plans, the Istituto Marangoni aims to offer advanced educational courses to empower both international and local brands in cultivating fresh creative and managerial competencies across various sectors including fashion, luxury, fragrances, cosmetics, and visual merchandising.

This news follows the announcement of the inaugural Red Sea Fashion Week this May and the return of Riyadh Fashion Week in October, this new addition seeks to further solidify Saudi as a hub for creativity and fashion, and bolsters the continued growth and enhancement of Saudi Arabia's fashion and luxury industry.

In Conversation with Stefania Valenti

Pivotal to this new opening is Stefania Valenti, the Global Managing Director of Istituto Marangoni and we sat down with her, as she shared her enthusiasm and thoughts on opening an arm of the famed institute in the Kingdom. “This is my second time visiting Saudi, and I think there is an incredible energy and a strong appetite for startups. The population is also young, and that is another important factor.”

“I wanted to understand and analyse the needs and potential of the market before taking a decision to open in the country. According to Boston Consultant Group, by 2030, the fashion luxury industry in Saudi is going to grow double digits. This means that not only the internal demand for fashion and luxury is high, but also external demand.”

The college is set to offers attendees courses and advanced educational resources in fashion and luxury, aiming to empower local brands, inspire creativity and further enhance the Kingdom's luxury marketplace through education.

“If you want to build a brand today, you must consider that at a certain point it has to go international, and this is exactly our methodological approach in Marangoni. We also want to improve our collaboration with the fashion commission by providing Saudi brands the knowledge and skills they need to grow in their domestic market, and the international market in the future,” said Valenti.

5 Questions with Burak Çakmak

CEO of Saudi Fashion Commission, and former Dean of Fashion at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York, Cakmak spearheads the organisation, management and development of the Kingdom's fashion sector aiming to make Saudi a pivotal player on the international fashion scene.

1. How do you think this collaboration will impact the fashion industry in the Kingdom?

Education is the cornerstone of building a sector. As we started our programs in the country, we were very keen to identify the creatives that exist and launched programs like Saudi 100 brands and have been able to take them to Riyadh Fashion Week and even abroad. 

We know that designers want to increase their professional knowledge of the sector and struggle to find creatives to work with them. This can only improve through education. Since most creatives don't have time to go abroad and study for two or three years, we wanted to create something in the country that bridges that gap, so they can continue their education, while building their businesses. 

The Institute of Marangona, with a good understanding of the diverse cultures around the world, and its presence in many countries, will be able to create a unique system for the Saudi market, to help us improve our brands further, as we build the sector in Saudi.

2. Are there any upcoming initiatives that the Fashion Commission plans to promote for fashion designers in Saudi and abroad?

I think what has been already announced is going to continue. Some new surprises are coming, but won't be able to share yet, unfortunately. We will continue doing our industry-focused events like fashion futures. I think one of the key moments we can safely say that's going to continue to happen every year is our presence, even in international markets. In March, we presented Saudi womenswear brands in Paris, and we plan to be there again in June. Beyond that, we are also looking forward to Riyadh Fashion Week this year.

3. What other opportunities do you believe exist for the growth and globalization of Saudi fashion under the Fashion Commission? 

Now that we are building on the educational element, we are continuing onto other aspects that are needed in the full value chain. Our next big step is going to be our product development space that we are finalizing- another key cornerstone of what the industry needs in the country where designers will be able to bring their sketches and designs and be able to create finished products all in Riyadh. That’s our next biggest milestone to come very soon. We are focusing on all the elements that are needed to build and manage a brand and we are putting them in place.

4. Where do you envision the commission's impact on the fashion industry by 2030? 

By 2030, we should have a sector that's much stronger in terms of its size, its contribution to GDP, and the number of people employed in the sector. These are all linked to our KPIs as part of Vision 2030 already. I expect that there will be a lot more recognition of Saudi brands, but also Saudi as a key fashion destination for all brands. Hence, events like Riyadh Fashion Week should become a destination for not only local brands but international brands, since there is an increase in retail stores, we are expecting a lot more international brands to have a physical presence in the country, which will require them to hire more local people, ideally educated in the country as well, hence Marangoni’s presence will help us achieve our vision.

5. A word of advice for those wanting to pursue a career in fashion

Keep in mind that fashion isn’t only about designing, there are a lot of other opportunities. You must understand what part of the sector you want to be in, but my word of advice is to give it a try across all aspects, not just in the design studio, the creative processes, and not only in the communication and marketing element. You may study finance, but you can still work in the fashion industry. It’s important to understand that any degree you have can still be transferred to the sector because it’s about building businesses and it needs everyone passionate about it to contribute to it. 

@burak_ny @sa100brands_official

@fashionmoc @istitutomarangoni