Meeting with IFA Paris

IFA Paris was founded in 1982. Where did the initial idea come from?

1982 is the official date, but the school was truly born in 1997, the fruit of a meeting between fashion specialist Olivia Chai and entrepreneur Patrick Kouzmine-Karavaieff. Together they relaunched the Paris school (300 students) and set up the Shanghai campus (700 students).

What are the reasons behind the success of IFA Paris?

First, we are truly international, with campuses in Paris, Shanghai and Istanbul. Second, we have consistently high academic standards. Third, there is a real ethos of creativity permeating all our programmes and courses.

How does IFA Paris compare to other fashion schools?     

IFA Paris has an innovative approach that sets it apart from the other Parisian fashion schools:

– IFA is different in that it has both Parisian roots and an international vision;

– We make a point of using innovative teaching methods and new technology and of stressing an open-minded, international approach.

Who are your students?

Our students come from over fifty countries.

A French Baccalaureate or equivalent is required to enrol in the bachelor’s programmes, but new students do not need to have prior experience in design or fashion marketing. Our bachelor’s students go on to work as designers or personal assistants in the marketing or merchandising departments of fashion houses.

Students enrolling in the MBA need a minimum of three years’ experience. They are destined for management careers in the luxury, fashion or media sectors.

How would you describe your students’ approach to fashion?

They have a passion for contemporary art, innovation and collaboration.

Can you tell us about Designing Luxury Brands, the latest book by Diana Derval, who teaches at IFA Paris?

Diana Derval is involved in our MBA programmes. Since 2004 she has been developing the Sensory Marketing and Anthropology of Luxury modules. In her latest book Designing Luxury Brands, which has been described by Philip Kotler as an major work, she explains how to create powerful luxury brands using techniques that draw on our knowledge of the senses and neuropsychology.

On 17 May Diana Derval presented her research findings at a roundtable discussion at DS World Paris, chaired by Jean-Baptiste Andreani (Director of our Paris campus).

Who would you name as a fashion symbol?

Coco Chanel, who once said: ‘Fashion is not found only in clothes. Fashion is in the air and carried on the wind. You sense it. Fashion is in the sky and in the street.’

Who be on an ideal examination committee to judge students’ work at the end of the year?

– Emmanuelle Alt, Chief Editor of Vogue France;

– David La Chapelle, Photographer;

– Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Dierctor at Dior;

– François Henri Pinault, Chairman of Kering;

– Three young fashion fanatics.

What are your students’ career destinations?

They often go on to work in the design and marketing departments of major fashion/luxury brands. 45 % set up their own companies, assisted by our Career and Alumni Center.

Can you tell us about an upcoming project?

We will be launching a sustainable development in fashion programme whose aim is to overturn the stereotypes associated with green fashion thanks to a detailed analysis of every stage in the supply chain. We will examine notions such as environmental accountancy and extending the life of products through upcycling.

We also plan to launch a fashion tech programme that will help our students discover new creative techniques using augmented reality and other recent concepts such as big data and artificial intelligence.

Most recent events:

– The Hope Walk fashion show at the Good Change temporary theatre. Outfits by IFA Paris students working in pairs with refugees ;
– upcoming event: fashion show for the collections by students of the Bachelor’s in Fashion Design and Technology (25 June 2018).


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