Andrea Batilla, director of the fashion school IED Moda Lab, is a mothering figure to budding designers everywhere. Working tirelessly to network and feed her students with an understanding of the larger fashion workings of Milan and the world, perhaps her biggest contribution is the annual My Own Show competition, which sees students from across the IED network compete for space at the world renowned Milan Fashion Week. Collaborating with some of the world’s biggest names in Fashion is a prize in itself for most students, but we talk to Andrea about Independence for modern designers, Milan’s reputation and the changing the face of modern fashion.
Dazed Digital: Tell us about My Own Show, how did it come about?
Andrea Batilla: My Own Show was born from the necessity of showing the best students of IED Network Fashion Schools, gathering young designers from 82 countries in the world. Franca Sozzani and I put up the contest five years ago in collaboration with many of the best italian fashion brands such as Valentino, Alberta Ferretti, Moschillo, Cesare Paciotti, Staff International. A jury of professionals chooses the four best collections from the graduated students from IED schools in Milano, Roma, Madrid, Barcelona and Sao Paolo and we give them the chance to have their collection produced and presented during Milano Fashion Week.
DD.: What can expect to see from the designers?
Andrea Batilla: Every designer will show six complete outfits at IED in Via Bezzecca in Milano, just around the corner from Fendi’s Milan HQ. The projects are personal and aim to show the designers' strong identities.
DD: Is partnership with larger fashion houses the key to a young designer's survival?
Andrea Batilla: No. I don't think so. I think the system’s decadence has brought all of us to believe so but a young designer needs to survive by selling clothes. Leaning on multi -million consultancies has moved away many designers from the market. We strongly believe that clothes are made to be worn not simply to die on catwalks.
DD: Milan is steeped in fashion heritage, where do these new faces fit in?
Andrea Batilla: There is a revolution going on in these months in Milano and a lot of new things are happening. Franca Sozzani is doing an incredible work collaborating with the Milan major Letizia Moratti. Last fashion week we had Piazza Duomo stage a show for new talents and Anna Wintour was there too. All the shows have recently moved from the Fiera to the centre of Milano in wonderful palazzos that have been opened by the owners.
DD: What of past winners of the competition? Have they been helped by the competition?
Andrea Batilla: All of them got great jobs. Maria Giovanna Drago, after working for Jil Sander, is now at Bless. Alberto Dalla Colletta is in Prada design office, Alessandro Vigilante is currently at Dolce & Gabbana women's design office, Giulia Secco Suardo works at Missoni. We are particularly happy of Nicolas Julitta who is presenting his own womenswear collection next February in Milano.
DD: Are large fashion businesses eager to help fresh talent?
Andrea Batilla: Large fashion companies at the moment are certainly on the lookout for new designers, as is the market. What is great about Italy is that there are also thousands of smaller companies in which a small collection of a young designer can perfectly fit. There are many examples: the new project of Vionnet produced by Marni and Matteo Marzotto, Rochas by Gibo, Giles and Gabriele Colangelo by Castor, Rick Owens by Olmar e Mirta to name a few.
Shoes throughout by Acne
Photographer Billy Ballard
Stylist Emma Wyman
Photo assistant John Tasker
Hair Ben Jones using Bumble&Bumble
Make up Lucy Burt at Premier
Model Katya Ko at IMG
Special thanks to Jean at Spring Lighting, Verien at Spring Studios and Mark Loy; Director of Spring Studios.