The notes of “Land of Hope and Glory,” the palpable emotion of families and friends, the audience studded with the students’ black and purple togas, the Dean’s introductory greeting – All the ingredients to make the Graduation ceremony of MAFED - Master in Fashion, Experience & Design Management’s 20th edition both solemn and passionate. But the finishing touch to the overall picture was added by an exceptional guest, Diego Della Valle, a historic name in Italian entrepreneurship and style around the world and owner of the Tod’s, ROGER VIVIER, Hogan and FAY brands, who wanted to extend his greetings and best wishes to the future fashion managers.
The welcoming address was delivered by Dean Beppe Soda: “The knowledge and skills that you have acquired during this long year of training, as well as your passion and ambition, will be key to meeting the challenges that await you, society and the planet. But this is not enough: you have to be game changers. Do not think that big transformations require memorable actions. Waiting for the ‘big wave’ can lead to frustration. It is small actions and a new mindset that bring about sustainable change”. And he concluded: “Professional and personal success rests on three pillars: big dreams, good planning and the determination to achieve them on a daily basis”.
Stefania Lazzaroni, Managing Director of Altagamma, a long-term partner of MAFED, transferred these general concepts to the specific field of the Master. “The world of fashion & design has changed in the past 20 years and today it needs new talents. 20 years ago, the buzzword was ‘exclusivity’, now it is ‘inclusion’. 20 years ago, the digital dimension was distant from the luxury industry, today it is an integral part of it. 20 years ago, the typical customer was over fifty and had a traditional lifestyle, today it is a young and innovative global consumer. Before, the brand-customer relationship was top-down, now it is bottom-up. You are the new talents in this sector, you have the right tools and sensitivity, you know how to hold together aesthetics and ethics, the beautiful, the good, the well made".
By graduating you also enter a new community, that of the Bocconi Alumni. Community manager Elisa Centelli underlined this: “From today you are officially part of a network made up of executives and excellent professionals, of thought leaders. We say: you are students for a certain period but Alumni forever. This gives you a responsibility because you become Bocconi ambassadors in the world, spreading its culture, its values, its power of change”. And she added, with reference to the MAFED: “The path that you have taken so far can be summed up in 3 words: unique, rewarding and life-changing”.
Lastly, before the diplomas were handed out, came the long-awaited speech by Diego Della Valle. “In recent years, especially in the last two, there have been great changes in dynamics as well as personal and professional relationships. At times, we have forgotten who we are. We are shaped by our skills, our ideas, our relationships. Your future,” he stressed addressing the audience, “will be to lead people in companies large or small, and to do that you need to have clear starting points and goals, believe in what you communicate, and act with coherence.”
“When I was your age,” he continued, “my concern as a young entrepreneur was figuring out what to do to grow my business. Today, an entrepreneur’s concern must also be about what she or he can do for the community. We often forget that. Some people asked me why I sponsored the rebuilding of the Coliseum. The answer is: Why not? I was proud to contribute to restoring one of the world’s most famous monuments.”
At the end of the meeting, we asked the CEO of Tod’s Group how he sees the evolution of the Italian fashion industry and the prospects of its future managers. “These guys are facing great challenges; the industry and the world are experiencing epochal changes. But let’s not forget that we have the leadership of Italian style, of know-how, the primacy of our history and our universally recognized craftsmanship on our side. These young people, who have had such an important educational experience in Italy, have an extra edge. They can bring this culture to the world and be recognized for it.” This was the word of someone who has been governing this international dimension, born at the heart of our country, for quite a long time.
SDA Bocconi School of Management