in Fashion Tech
IFA Paris believes that entrepreneurship is one vital skill for a successful career in the fashion industry and at IFA Paris we are passionate about making sure that our students succeed. That is why entrepreneurship is intrinsically embedded into our ethos as a fashion school and runs throughout the curriculum, culture and our international network.
At IFA Paris we support those students and alumni who have chosen the entrepreneurial route in realising their ambitions and goals right from the start. Our lecturers have a strong practical background in business themselves, and we are developing a specialised Fashion Tech Innovation Lab as a space to grow and nurture innovators and entrepreneurs.
We have forged strong links with industry so that students can see first hand the results of entrepreneurialism in action what the scale of success looks like. Research-led and experiential learning means that fashion corporations, startups and seasoned entrepreneurs are welcomed to IFA Paris to speak to our students, pose them challenges and welcome them to their own companies.
EMBEDDING ENTREPRENERSHIP INTO LEARNING
A Fashion University with Entrepreneurship at its' Heart
Over half of our courses are directly business related - for example our MBA Fashion Business that has dedicated modules in entrepreneurship - and in the others, we ensure that entrepreneurship is strongly featured. We also regularly add new, updated strands to our programs. An example is our Enterprise: Product & Innovation module that our second year Bachelor Fashion Marketing students undertake in collaboration with an industry partner who is the client.
The Enterprise: Product & Innovation module sees the students actively working with a live brief set by a fashion company. This allows them to learn the challenges faced in delivering a new concept, product or brand onto the market. The project kicks off with a day of brainstorming in groups with active feedback and guidance from the industry partner. Subsequently they work to develop a strategic proposal to satisfy the project requirements, and ultimately present it back to the client. With this module students consolidate their theoretical learning into a practical result using strategic thinking, creativity and technical knowledge to nurture entrepreneurial thinking.
Lecturers who know their Business
It’s not just the invited guests who deeply understand entrepreneurship. Our teachers all know what they are speaking of from direct involvement too. This means that when they teach a module involving entrepreneurship, they have an abundance of personal experience to draw from. They can expand on the concepts being taught using this knowledge, answer questions in an in-depth manner and give any student individualised suggestions based on what they might do themselves in a business situation.
For example, here are two of our lecturers who can boast a wealth of practical business experience:
Dr. Diana Derval
Diana is a senior lecturer in anthropology and luxury. She teaches the Sensorial Marketing module to our MBA students as well as the Neuromarketing module in the Postgraduate Diploma - Fashion Tech Innovation.
She is actively involved in the fashion world, being the founder of the market research firm Derval Research, which has advised many Fortune 500 companies including Sephora, Michelin, Sofitel, Philips and L'Oréal. Diana has an innate understanding of entrepreneurship, having written three books on the subjects of fashion, luxury brands and shopping behaviours. Her passion lies in turning fascinating neuroscientific breakthroughs into powerful business frameworks to identify, understand, and predict human traits, motivations and behaviour.
Peter Jeun Ho Tsang
Peter is the founder and writer of our entire Fashion Tech Innovation program and its' concomitant Fashion Tech Innovation Lab and Makerspace. He also lectures in our other undergraduate and postgraduate programs on the subjects of business, product development and innovation.
Peter has entrepreneurship in his bloodstream. He is the founder of the fashion tech studio Beyond Form, which works with innovative brands to advise on strategy, innovation deployment and product development. His own retail-cum-lab concept, “The Dandy Lab”, was nominated for several awards including 'Best New Retail Concept' WGSN Futures 2016 and was commended by Internet Retailing 2015 for 'The Digital Store Award'. Peter also regularly speaks at conferences about the future of fashion and technology including: WGSN Futures, Decoded Fashion and RBTE.
SUPPORTING ENTREPRENEURS AND THEIR IDEAS
We make sure to consolidate learnt knowledge by a number of processes. One is the learning by doing methodology. In order to fully understand the process that entrepreneurs go through in developing and launching new products, we have on-site a brand-new fashion tech innovation lab of our own, specifically for the use of our students, alumni and invited start-ups as a space dedicated to practical learning.
Users will be able to create prototypes, present ideas and meet people to share ideas in the spacious co-working space. Our Makerspace is especially designed for aspiring fashion businesses, containing 3D printers, laser cutters, knitting machines and other equipment, along with the training needed to operate them. This will enable fashion entrepreneurs to not only visualise a product, but the thrilling opportunity to hold a commercially viable version of it in their hand, before presenting it in front of an audience in a professional environment.
To see another fashion innovation hub in action, we have also partnered with The Bridge Fashion Incubator (TBFI) an initiative by the Textile and Fashion Federation (Singapore). Based inside The Cocoon Space, their hub is a great example of how a fashion ecosystem can work and this partnership allows students to grow their knowledge by visiting Singapore and checking it out for themselves. There they can form useful and inspiring connections and explore new ideas to develop their personal pathways.
This is all part of the IFA Paris startup network, which includes the support of advisors, mentors, brands and partners. As student knowledge grows, we continually scale the learning experience, allowing students to take full advantage of our industry connections. We have active partnerships with fashion giants such as LVMH, Coty and Kering amongst other companies, who visit, hold talks and set entrepreneurial projects and challenges for students to get their teeth into.
As you can imagine, with all of this support and opportunity, our students graduate with an excellent working understanding of the sphere of fashion. But we don’t think that our task is complete once we see our graduates complete their course. We have a Career and Alumni centre which assists students in finding their perfect job with our fashion industry contacts. 80% of our students find a great job in the industry within six months of graduation and can always rely on us throughout their entire career. We also offer ongoing support and encouragement for those who choose to launch their own fashion brand or company.
Many of our students have gone on to become resounding success stories in the world of fashion. Here is a graduate spotlight on three of our entrepreneurs:
MBA Fashion Business graduate Kamila Boudová is passionate about sustainable fashion. Since graduating she has founded the fashion platform Moyomi and organises “Sustainable Fashion Day” with pop-up stores of 30 sustainable brands and workshops during the Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Week. She also coordinates the international campaign “Fashion Revolution” in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as heading workshops about fashion business and strategic marketing for students to support local brands.
“I use the knowledge acquired daily,” Kamila explains of her studies at IFA Paris. “I did not join any company after I finished my studies. I started in education and slowly developed my own project. I use a lot of knowledge acquired during my studies. As an entrepreneur, I appreciate the classes on negotiating, strategic marketing and entrepreneurship. Most of all, my studies at IFA Paris allowed me to develop my knowledge about sustainable fashion.”
Ria Keburia graduated from our Bachelor in Fashion Design & Technology and established her brand in Paris in 2012. She describes her studies with IFA Paris as “very valuable. Without the support of Jean-Marc Chauve (Creative Director at IFA Paris) and Lise Parmentier (Lecturer in fashion design), I would have never started.”
As well as her own label, she now lends her name to an art gallery in Tblisi, Georgia, where she collaborates with other fashion designers in order to show the public that fashion is a high art. In her own words: “My aim is to persuade people that these garments are pieces of art. The idea is to put the value on clothes, to give them a soul, and sell them to the people who can feel the arty side of it. Yes, I’m also a curator, a collector, the one who merges the artists and who takes care of them. Leading further!”
Gemologist and young jewelry designer, Stéphane Boghossian graduated from our MBA Luxury Brand Management and launched his startup in 2018. ExJewel is a jewelry inventory management digital platform, powered by AI. It aims at improving transparency and reusing unused jewelry instead of buying new ones.
“Our vision is to establish a new eco-jewelry world encouraging conscious consumers to purchase and reuse precious gemstones and other precious materials. To this aim, we are connecting consumers and creative experts through innovative products and pricing.” In particular, the core of ExJewel’s digital system is a pricing algorithm developed with several experts and IT companies integrating dozens of complex sources of data. It calculates online at a fast pace, in real-time, any vintage jewelry’s value owned by a professional or an individual.
Stephane describes his studies at IFA Paris as “the place where I was able to learn lots of marketing, set up foot into the business world and build a research and business frame needed for my project.” To kickstart ExJewel, Stéphane successfully completed his first round of fundraising on KissKissBankBank’s crowdfunding platform - a new first positive step into his business development.