Institut Français de la Mode
Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) (French for "French Institute of Fashion") is a higher education institution offering postgraduate courses  and applied research for the fashion, luxury goods, design and textile industries, and creative industries more generally. In 2017, IFM was ranked number 1 worldwide for Fashion Business Masters programs, and number 2 worldwide for Fashion Design Masters programs by The Business of Fashion.
In the early 1980s French authorities and representatives of the fashion industry suggested the creation of a fashion institute, aiming to train "the masterminds of couture and prêt-à-porter houses" as well as the textile industry. Jack Lang, Pierre Bergé, and heads of professional bodies and trade associations took up the issue.
Created in 1986 by the French Ministry of Industry and placed under its administrative supervision, IFM offers postgraduate education, executive education, research and expertise. Pierre Bergé, its founding Chairman, summarizes its mission in these words: "I have always believed there should be no barriers between the various joblines of our industry. I have always believed that you cannot do a good job if you don't understand those of others. In a nutshell, that people need to measure up, understand each other and work together" (« j'ai toujours cru qu'il ne devait pas y avoir de frontières entre les différentes disciplines de nos métiers. J'ai toujours cru qu'on ne pouvait bien faire le sien qu'en connaissant celui des autres. En un mot, qu'il était indispensable de se mesurer, de se comprendre, pour vivre et travailler ensemble ».)
In 1986, IFM created a Postgraduate Programme in Fashion, Design and Luxury Management in order to reinforce managerial skills within the industry. This programme aimed to promote the job of product manager for the fashion and luxuries industry, and leads to a variety of careers: supply management, marketing (of products and design in these industries), communications, sales, merchandising and distribution. Many senior managers and business leaders in the industry are alumni of this program. IFM's Postgraduate Programme in Fashion, Design and Luxury Management is recognised by the French Higher Education and Research Ministry for a period of six years. The degree is also registered by the French National Directory of Professional Certifications (level 1).
In 2000, the Fashion Design Postgraduate Program was created, as a way to strengthen links between management and design. This program, offered in English, offers three majors (Garment, Accessory, Image), and has attracted many talented people wishing to hone their creative skills in France. Selected designers are immersed in the business reality of partner companies, with whom they design prototypes (garments, shoes, leatherwork). Students hold an initial degree for fashion schools in France (école supérieure des arts appliqués Duperré, Studio Berçot, école de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne for haute couture, atelier Chardon Savard) and abroad such as Central Saint Martins College of art and design, Felicidad Duce, New York's Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Ecole nationale supérieure des arts visuels de La Cambre, Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts. IFM's Fashion Design Postgraduate Programme is registered by the French National Directory of Professional Certifications (level 1).
As of September 2013 IFM offers another programme in English: the Master of Science in International Luxury Management (MSc Luxury). This programme is open to international students wishing to pursue an international career with French and European luxury companies.
Since 2009 Summer School programmes have been offered to non-specialized high school and college students in order to provide them with a basic picture of the culture of fashion and luxury, and an overview of creative industries in all of their dimensions: culture, joblines, economy, products, creative processes, image and communications.
Since 1987 IFM has been developing a range of executive education courses, with open-enrolment and custom-designed programs for companies (over 2,000 executives trained every year).
In 2004 an Executive MBA programme was launched in Global Fashion Management, compatible with a professional career or an entrepreneurial project, and with an international curriculum through partnerships with New York's Fashion Institute of Technology and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Since 1994 a large-scale scholarship scheme has been funded by a circle of patron companies, allowing IFM to encourage social diversity of its students. In 2015 this Circle of Patrons was made up of 16 companies and business foundations.
In 1999 IFM took on the Centre textile de conjoncture et d’observation économique, a specialized institution analysing production, consumption, distribution and international trade in the textile and garment industries. This institute for applied research and expertise became IFM's Economic Observatory, which produces and publishes market studies for business professionals in the industry.
In 2003 a research department was created, in order to produce knowledge and enhance the educational programmes' curricula. This humanities and social sciences department publishes a semi-annual review (Mode de recherche, available online for free), textbooks for students and a wider audience about brands and brand management, luxury, the history of fashion, design, consumption and distribution. These publications are distributed by publisher Editions du Regard.
IFM's Research department is also in charge of organizing a series of public conferences. Each year since 2009, it has co-ordinated a dozen conferences by academics and experts open to the general public.
IFM accompanies the development of young creative labels through its programme IFM Labels (formerly known as IFM Entrepreneurs). Since 2011 prestigious labels such as Jacquemus, Vetements, Yiqing Yin or MELINDAGLOSS have benefited from this coaching programme.
In 2015 IFM launched a programme for young entrepreneurs wishing to set up a business in the fashion or creative industries: IFM Start. This one-year programme offers courses, mentoring sessions, a start-up internship and digital or design workshops.
In 2016, IFM announced a strategic partnership with Ecole de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne in order to offer a full range of courses, from vocational training to higher education, in both fashion design and fashion management, directly connected to the fashion and textile industries.
In 2017, IFM launched a new PhD program with Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne which offers a truly multidisciplinary approach (management, history, art history, law, design, aesthetics and art science) applied to the fashion and luxury sector.
Mission and activities
IFM's mission is to support the development of fashion and design industries through the reinforcement of skills and prospective analysis of the industry's future evolution; to encourage creation and innovation in businesses; and to contribute to the 'fashion and design' aura of Paris and France.
IFM programmes are open to holders of a higher education degree (levels M1 and M2), offering them specialized and vocational programs in the field of management and design. IFM alumni (2,000 in France and abroad) pursue careers in companies, or set up their own businesses.
As well as the humanities textbooks published by the Research department, IFM regularly produces business or market studies for business professionals.
Networks and partnerships
The governing bodies of IFM Paris (Academic Affairs Council and Economic Affairs Council) are made up of senior managers and managing directors in the textile, fashion and design industries.
In 2013 IFM joined heSam (hautes études Sorbonne arts et métiers), an academic cluster for social sciences and humanities, engineering, private and public governance, design and heritage. This cluster is composed of universities and schools such as université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, école des hautes études en sciences sociales, ESCP Europe, ENA, and école nationale supérieure de création industrielle.
Moreover, IFM has developed strong relationships with a network of higher education institutions in France: école nationale supérieure des arts et industries textiles, EDHEC Business School, École de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne, ENSCI, université Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, école nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, ESCP Europe, HEC Paris.
On a global scale, IFM is a member of the executive committee of IFFTI (International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes). IFM has also concluded academic partnerships with international academic institutions such as New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (Beijing), Bocconi University (Milan), Central Saint Martins college of art and design in London, and Ecole supérieure des affaires in Beirut.
In 2006, IFM became a member of the Conférence des grandes écoles. Since 2011 IFM Paris has been officially recognized by the French state (decree published in the Official Bulletin for higher education and research, 14 July 2011).
In December 2008, IFM moved to brand new premises at the Docks, Cité de la mode et du design, quai d'Austerlitz in Paris.
IFM is a partner and organizer of an innovation network called R3iLab, promoting non-technological innovation for SMCs in the industry, in areas such as product design, marketing and sales. IFM's participation was supported and called for by the French Ministry of Industry.
IFM is also co-organizer, with the London College of Fashion, of European project WORTH, supported by the European Commission. This project promotes pan-European partnerships between designers and small- and mid-size companies, in order to develop innovative new fashion and lifestyle products.
Structure and organization
- President: André Beirnaert
- Dean: Dominique Jacomet (Xavier Romatet as of August 26th, 2019)
- Executive Director: Sylvie Ebel
IFM is structured around 3 units:
- Education (executive education, postgraduate education, Executive MBA, programs for entrepreneurs, PhD)
- Expertise (Economic Observatory, market studies, publications and academic events)
- Information (library, internet and social media)
Among the 2,300 IFM alumni, many are regularly covered by the international media, such as
- Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski (IFM/Design 2004), creative director, women's ready-to-wear, Hermès.
- Guillaume Henry (IFM/Design 2001), since October 2014 creative director at Nina Ricci - Puig group-, former creative director of Carven.
- Pablo Coppola (IFM/Design 2002), creative director, Bally.
- Christine Phung (IFM/Design 2002), head of her own brand.
Many experts from fashion and business are regular speakers in IFM programs, such as:
- Didier Grumbach, President of the Fédération française de la couture, du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode.
- Florence Müller, fashion historian, art curator and author of many publications.
- Bruno Pavlovsky, President of the Fashion division, Chanel.
- Sidney Toledano, CEO of Christian Dior Couture.
- Farid Chenoune, fashion historian, art curator and author of many publications.
- Guillaume de Seynes, Managing Director, Hermès.
Awards and reputation
- Global rankings: Best Fashion Schools In The World, 2016 by the CEOWORLD magazine – 75th place
- European rankings: Best Fashion Schools In Europe, 2016 by the CEOWORLD magazine – 44th place
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