Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Europe Adventures: Florence

We have arrived at the last stop on the trip- Florence, Italy! Out of all three cities we visited, Florence was by far my favorite. It was the most beautiful place I have ever seen! Nothing can beat the breathtaking view at the top of Piazza Michelangelo. It was the perfect place to watch the sunset on the first night we arrived.
One thing I loved about Florence was how easy it was to navigate. We were able to walk everywhere in the city! Being able to wander around the city was such a great way to experience the culture. Some of the places we explored were the Ponte Vecchio, Mercato Centrale, and many different street markets. We also went to a lot of museums like the Pitti- which has the most beautiful gardens behind it- and the Uffizi, as well as a few fashion museums like the Ferragamo Museum and Gucci Museum.
One thing you must do when visiting Florence is climb the Duomo. The view from the top is worth the 463 steps. Plus it helps work off all the pizza and spaghetti- we treated ourselves to two gelatos that day! Speaking of food, we also had the opportunity to take a cooking class while in Florence! The spaghetti tasted even better knowing that we had made it fresh ourselves, and the homemade canoli for dessert was a sweet way to end an afternoon of hard work in the kitchen.
Instead of formal corporate visits, we visited a Florence based leather school, leather glove manufacturer, and a silk weaving company. It was amazing to see how much work goes into creating a patterned silk fabric. The thread is so thin that the weavers only make about eight centimeters of fabric a day! At the glove manufacturers, we were shown how a piece of leather is made into a glove from start to finish. Lastly, at the leather school, we were shown the workshop where the students learn to construct leather goods such as bags, belts, and wallets, and we were also given a demonstration on how their craftsman embosses the leather by branding designs or monograms into it with gold.
This was truly a trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful to have been a part of such an amazing opportunity. I hope you have enjoyed reading all about my European adventures from each city. You can check out a few of my favorite pictures from Florence below! Ciao!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Europe Adventures: Berlin

The next stop on our European adventure was Berlin, Germany! This city was so full of history and culture. The very first thing we did in Berlin was a guided walking tour of the city. Our tour guide was from the U.S. but has lived in Berlin for a couple years now. He had so much energy and made the tour so interesting for us! His knowledge of the city was incredible and his fun facts about the city were something you can't find in a history textbook. Being able to actually stand in front of some of the landmarks as we were learning about them was an amazing experience and made it so much easier to put it all into perspective.
Some of the landmarks we saw were the Berlin Wall and the East Side Gallery, where the wall is covered in painted murals, Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, and many memorials that serve as a remembrance of those lost in war. We also visited the Kunstgewerbemuseum to see an exhibit on the history and evolution of fashion and one night we went up the TV Tower to get a birds eye view of the city as the sun was setting!
Some of corporate visits in Berlin included the offices of online retailer, Zalando, a store tour of Berlin's famous department store, KaDeWe, and my personal favorite, the atelier of Marina Hoermanseder.  Being able to meet Marina and see where and how her designs are created was something I will remember forever. Marina and her team were so excited to host us and gave us a very hands on experience. They even taught all of us how to make the leather flower embellishments Marina is known for! (You can check out her designs here!) 
Check out some of my favorite pictures from Berlin below and stay tuned for the final stop of the trip coming soon! Auf Wiedersehen!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Europe Adventures: London

Over the past three weeks, I was traveling through Europe for a study abroad course offered at FIT! During the course of the trip we hit three cities; exploring the culture, as well as attending the corporate offices of fashion brands and major retail stores based in the three cities! The first of the three cities we ventured to was London, England!
I absolutely love London.  The city is so full of energy and there are a million and one things to do. Each day of exploring brought us somewhere different! We explored many antique markets, such as the Portobello Road Market- which is lined with the most adorable, colorful houses- as well as the Cambridge Flower Market. I had never seen so many peonies in my life!
We also hit a few landmarks like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye, the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and more. One afternoon, we even took a break from all the exploring for tea time at Westminster Abbey!
Some of the corporate visits in London included a private store tour of the Burberry flagship store on Regent Street, Ted Baker's headquarter offices, TopShop's headquarter offices, and the trend forecasting company WGSN's headquarter offices. It was amazing to get a first hand look at how and where these companies work and to be able to ask some of the company executives questions about their roles in the industry. Being able to experience these office environments for ourselves and getting information straight from people who are really involved in the business cannot be compared to sitting in a classroom. It was such an incredible opportunity to be able to be a part of.
I have included some of my favorite pictures from London below! Be sure to check them out and stay tuned for the adventures from the next two cities! Cheers!!

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