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### A Study Abroad Student’s View on Milan’s Fashion Scene

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the opinions of Her Campus.

This article has been penned by a student contributor from the Her Campus chapter at TCNJ.

Exploring the Fashion Landscape

Milan, renowned as the global epicenter of fashion, establishes an unparalleled benchmark for style and creativity. During my semester abroad in Fall 2023, I, as a student, had the privilege of immersing myself in the exquisite fashion trends that dominate this avant-garde city.

Upon setting foot on the bustling streets of Milan, I was immediately struck by a sense of cultural disparity as I observed the impeccably dressed locals exuding confidence in their bold sartorial choices. It seemed like every individual I encountered was poised to grace a runway.

Encountering Cultural Shifts

Feeling somewhat out of place amidst this fashion-forward milieu, my distinctly American attire starkly contrasted with the sophisticated fashion sensibilities of Milan. Armed with minimal clothing upon my arrival, I seized the opportunity to overhaul my wardrobe and align myself with the chic standards of this cosmopolitan hub.

The myriad fashion outlets dotting Milan served as catalysts for my burgeoning affinity for shopping, satiating my desire to make a striking fashion statement. I frequented sustainable stores, not only to cater to my budgetary constraints but also to align with my aspiration for embracing eco-conscious practices.

Insights from Milan Fashion Week 2023

The overarching theme resonating from Milan Fashion Week 2023 underscored the escalating significance of sustainability in the realm of fashion. The culmination of this prestigious event witnessed the inception of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana Sustainable Fashion Awards.

Gucci, an illustrious Italian luxury brand, clinched the coveted Ellen MacArthur Foundation Award for Circular Economy. Their triumph was underpinned by a strategic partnership with a Regenagri-certified farm in Spain, integrating regeneratively cultivated cotton into their denim collection.

Championing Sustainable Fashion: Thrift Shop Milano

During my sojourn in Milan, one establishment that left an indelible impression on me was the eco-conscious boutique, Thrift Shop Milano. Launched in July 2022 by the visionary Camille Velasquez, this store stands as a testament to mindful fashion practices. Through soliciting donations and curating treasures from across the globe, the shop embodies the ethos of circular fashion and waste reduction.

“The items showcased in the store are meticulously handpicked by me through my network of suppliers,” remarked Velasquez. “By selling some of these donations at a nominal price, I aim to foster a culture of sustainable fashion and minimize environmental impact.”

This hidden gem swiftly gained popularity on social media platforms, attracting a diverse clientele comprising young tourists and discerning Milanese residents keen on perusing the thoughtfully curated merchandise and experiencing the visually appealing store ambiance firsthand.

In my quest to emulate Monster High’s iconic character, Draculaura, for Halloween, my quest for the perfect top led me to Thrift Shop Milano, where I stumbled upon an exquisite corset from their diverse collection.

Velasquez’s Fashion Philosophy

Velasquez expounded on the prevailing fashion trends in Milan, emphasizing the populace’s penchant for self-expression through discerning style choices. Animal prints, layered ensembles, and eclectic accessories were identified as recurring motifs in the local fashion landscape.

With sustainability at the core of her ethos, Velasquez remains committed to curating timeless, high-quality pieces that transcend fleeting trends. “While I strive to stay abreast of evolving styles and selections, I urge my patrons to make mindful purchases and derive enduring value from their acquisitions,” she articulated.

Describing Milan’s fashion milieu as dynamic, eclectic, and emblematic, Velasquez extolled the city’s status as the unrivaled global fashion hub, characterized by its adaptability to contemporary trends, versatility, and distinctive cultural ethos. The diversity and individualistic nature of style choices in Milan defy rigid categorization, underscoring the city’s status as a melting pot of fashion influences.

Exploring Sustainable Fashion: Personal Highlights

Venturing beyond Thrift Shop Milano, I chanced upon another hidden gem, Vendiamolo, a second-hand boutique that captured my attention with a resplendent purple sequin-embellished corset top. To my delight, this timeless piece was priced at a mere 15 euros, which I accessorized with complementary purple accents for a memorable night out in Milan.

Additionally, my forays into the vibrant flea markets led me to East Market Milano, a sprawling bazaar dedicated to vintage treasures, antiques, and pre-loved clothing. It was here that I unearthed a striking red sequin top, which I ingeniously styled to embody my second Halloween persona: the enigmatic Jade Bratz doll.

Key Reflections

The fashion landscape in Milan is a tapestry of diversity, characterized by a laissez-faire approach to personal style. Reflecting the city’s industrious ethos, I observed a prevalence of sophisticated business attire among the denizens, exuding an aura of purpose and determination in their stride.

Undeniably, the denizens of Milan adhere to a “dress to impress” ethos, with casual or lackluster ensembles being a rare sight. While the endeavor to keep pace with evolving trends could be demanding, it presented a gratifying opportunity for me to experiment with my personal style and revel in the myriad fashion offerings that the city boasts. The unforgettable nights spent with friends, adorned in our sartorial best, are cherished memories that I will forever hold dear.