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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Florence, Italy
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: VCU applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Area of Study: Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising Minimum GPA Required: 3
Language of Instruction: English Housing Options: Apartment
Program Description:
Fashion in Florence
fash 1
Florence, Italy
6 credits in Fashion Design and Merchandising
25 June –26 July 2018
$4,250 (includes tuition) + airfare
Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
Program Director
Kim Guthrie
Registration deadline: 22 March 2018
The Global Education Office and the Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising, in collaboration with Santa Reparata International School of Art, are proud to present a program in Florence, Italy. Students will have the wonderful opportunity to spend one month drawing inspiration and fueling their creativity from the art, culture, and fashion of Florence and other Italian cities.
Course and credit options
  • FASH 343: Fashion Forecasting (3 credits)
  • FASH 391: Italian Fashion History (3 credits)
Students will receive transfer credit for all coursework completed in this program, eliminating the need to pay VCU’s per-credit tuition rate and the Arts tuition differential. This saves an in-state Arts student more than $3,000 for a six-credit summer program.
In order to receive credit, students must earn the equivalent of a C or better.
Course description
FASH 343: Fashion Forecasting (3 credits)
Working individually and in teams, students will conduct research to identify, track and analyze current trends to develop a fashion forecast. Psychographic, demographic, economic, social and historical forces of behavior will be evaluated. Specific attention will be paid to both Italian and European influences. Students will have the opportunity to attend an international fabric trade show.  This is a required course for merchandising students and will count as an upper level elective requirement for fashion design students.
FASH 391: Italian Fashion History (3 credits)
The contribution of Italy to the world of fashion can be seen in every area of fashion, from fabrics and textiles to style, design, and language. The culture, art, and fashion of Italy has had great influence over the fashion industry around the world. With a special focus on the most relevant Italian designers of the 20th century, students will discover the rich history of Italian fashion and its storied brands.  The course includes visits to workshops, exhibitions, and museums. The course will present a visual history of contemporary Italian fashion while making connections to other historical events. There will be an emphasis on research and project presentations. This course can count as an art history elective for both merchandising and design. Another credit option is for the course to count as a fashion elective for merchandising students, and as an upper level elective for fashion design students.
 fash 2
Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their major in order to participate, and should have completed FASH 145 or FASH 345 (or its equivalent), FASH 240, FASH 241, and UNIV 200 (preferred) and by the start of the program. Non-fashion majors will be contacted by the program director for an interview.
This program is only open to VCU students.
Accommodations and Meals
Students will reside in shared, fully furnished apartments with kitchens that are equipped with necessary cooking implements. Meals are not included.
  • Housing coordination and assistance are available 24 hours in case of emergency.
  • A housing coordinator will assist students with questions and concerns related to their housing before and after arrival in Florence.
  • When students arrive at SRISA or the Florence airport, a staff member will be waiting to accompany them to their apartments.
  • Welcome packets, which include a few essentials to get each student through the first day or two, are included at each apartment.
Program Director
Kimberly Guthrie considers fashion as an area of research in which many aspects of life can be investigated, celebrated, and represented. Her approach to teaching and developing course content combines these perspectives. Currently her research is focused on preparing the next generation of fashion designers to develop apparel utilizing sustainable strategies and approaches. In March 2009, she did a professional internship with Earth Pledge in their FutureFashion initiative. Since then, she has created courses on eco fashion, mentored an undergraduate research grant titled “Eco-Fashion: Re-fashioning the Future”, and has presented papers on sustainable fashion in Mumbai, Oxford, Rotterdam, Rome, and Seoul. Receiving a Dean’s Faculty Exploratory Research Grant in 2010 allowed her to continue her research to examine and determine how fashion programs need to address and analyze how the fashion industry’s reaction to becoming more sustainable will affect the content and instruction of what is taught to fashion students. She was awarded a Faculty Dean’s Research Grant in 2011 to continue the development of nurse scrubs tops for the VCU Health System. Professor Guthrie has collaborated with Tredegar Film Products Corporation on the product development and design of disposable apparel products. As a consultant for Tredegar, she has designed disposable apparel products for SmartChoices™ and Once™. Professor Guthrie received her Master of Arts Degree and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design from VCU’s School of the Arts.

A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website.
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive one charge to their student accounts for this program reflecting the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee). This bill will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May.
Please note: It is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
  • Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
  • Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
  • Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Travel health
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website.
Health Alert:  Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent.  Check the CDC’s travel notices regularly as new countries are being added to this list.  Check VCU Student Health to stay updated as well.

VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website for full details.


Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year Registration Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 03/22/2018 ** Rolling Admission 06/25/2018 07/26/2018

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.