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Fashion Archives as the essence and humanity of a brand. A conversation with Grazia Venneri

Grazia Venneri, director of Specialization Course in Introduction to Fashion Archive, is the founder of NeverEndingVibes (NEV), an advisory for fashion companies specialized in the innovation of crucial processes such as Branding, Targeting and Positioning with an approach based on the Brand Heritage, its Values and the use of emerging technologies.

With a Master in Communication and Public Relations, Grazia has more than 20 years of experience in the fashion and luxury industry. Head of the Gucci Heritage Department, she created and managed the Historical Archive, designed and implemented the dedicated Digital Platform, contributed to the concept, creation and launch of the Gucci Museum. Since 2014 she has been carrying out advisory activities for Italian and International brands, designing and implementing projects in which Heritage becomes the bridge between the identity and the evolution of the Brand, facilitating new creative processes and better connections with its external and internal communities.

Which is the role of the fashion archive and why they have become so important through time?

The fashion archive is a powerful tool for brand identity, product innovation and customer loyalty. The archive embodies the essence and humanity of a brand in its evolution. A new creativity comes to life through continuous research, organized contents and imagination. The archive tells new stories and emotional experiences for the client. The fashion archives seem to have become important only now but in truth, some brands, the most visionary ones, have adopted this correct approach towards their heritage many years ago, using this intuition as a strong competitive advantage. Thanks to the digital transformation and the new heritage management introduced in this course, the companies of the sector can valorize their own resources and history rapidly and with reduced investments.

What it is like to work in a fashion archive? Which are the roles and the main tasks of the people who work there?

Working in a modern fashion archive means bringing at the center of the strategic processes needed for product development, brand management and marketing by collaborating in an ecosystem of internal and external relations of a brand. The role of the Heritage Manager requires strong organizative skills, project management, knowledge of new technologies for data and digital management, soft skills of empathy and team-working, proactivity and design thinking. The main tasks pass from the research and acquisition of historical materials to the cooperation in the communication initiatives about the brand, from the physical and digital organization for the consultation of the archivistic material to the participation to events and editorial projects. A multiplicity of multidisciplinary cross competences that make it a “rounded” and “mixed” profession.

Tells us more about the course in Fashion Archive that you are directing and the role of the Ferrè Foundation in the programme.

The course intends to shape new professional roles able to face the complexities of the activities and services of a modern fashion archive. The approach is innovative as it includes, along with the traditional competences of archive management, new tools of design thinking and brand management, marketing, and customer experience design in order to collaborate much effectively with the key figures of the company. Fondazione Gianfranco Ferrè has given the opportunity to the participants to work in a team on real projects related to the digital archive of the foundation and to put into practice what learnt during the course.

During the study path students have taken part to several special speeches from professionals who work in this sector. Could you please tell us who participated in these special appointments and why they were so important?

I had the opportunity to count on high profile professionals thanks to the personal relation with managers and experts in the sector with whom I had developed projects through the years. Among them: Riccardo Sciutto (CEO Sergio Rossi), Elisa Fulco (Art & Fashion Curator), Lucia Savi (Fashion Curator del Victoria & Albert Museum di Londra). Each contribution has strengthen and shown concretely how a modern approach to Brand Heritage can become a driving engine of innovation and generate a significant value for the companies of this sector, both B2C and B2B.

Which are the profiles of the students that have participated in the last edition of the course?

Students come from archiving, public relations, communication, marketing and specialized journalism. Some of them are already working and use the course as an opportunity for further specialization and learning while others I hope will receive an adequate preparation for a first and pleasing professional experience.

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