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Institut Français de la Mode free online fashion course attracts 100,000 learners

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Institut Français de la Mode has launched the second run of its free online fashion course, ‘Understanding Fashion: from Business to Culture’, on FutureLearn.com, the global social learning platform.

The free online fashion course, which includes insights and video testimonials from the world’s leading fashion experts, including designers Sir Paul Smith and Simon Porte Jacquemus, has currently attracted more than 100,000 learners from almost 200 countries.

On the course, learners will explore the interaction of fashion, society and business with Institut Français de la Mode professor, Benjamin Simmenauer, alongside expertise and advice from Francesca Bellettini, chief executive of Saint Laurent, Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, Guillaume de Seynes executive vice president of Hermès, and Christelle Kocher, founder of Koché.

‘Understanding Fashion: from Business to Culture’ is currently open for enrolment and is four weeks long and will take 3 hours of weekly study. The course is delivered in English and subtitled in several languages, ensuring that the course is accessible to an international audience.

By the end of the course, FutureLearning states that learners will gain a deeper understanding of the fashion world and take a dual approach to the study of fashion as both a cultural phenomenon and a creative industry. In addition, learners will also develop key industry skills, including how to interpret fashion silhouettes and explain consumer behaviour and trend diffusion models.

Catalina Schveninger, chief people officer at FutureLearn said in a statement: “It is inspiring to see so many learners from across the globe joining the ‘Understanding Fashion’ course and using the FutureLearn platform during this challenging time to learn new skills, pick up new interests and hobbies and, most importantly, connect with each other over shared passions.

“I enrolled myself and completed it within a week, I was delighted to learn from the likes of Sir Paul Smith, Simon Jacquemus and other fashion icons but also to see how concepts from sociology, semiotics and even philosophy are weaved in to bring the obsession we have with fashion come to life."

Benjamin Simmenauer, professor at Institut Français de la Mode, added: “We are glad that the course has triggered such a high level of participation and commitment for this second run. In these difficult times, the course allows students from all over the world to form a community, interact with each other, approach each module at their own pace, and ask us questions along the way.”

Institut Francais de la Mode