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Mar 29, 2023

10 visionaries trained at Istituto Marangoni

Launching their brands or working for some of the biggest luxury houses, a cast of international talents is quietly disrupting the fashion industry. Who are they?

As Istituto Marangoni has been ranked among the top 100 universities in the world in the Art & Design area, establishing itself as the best Italian institution for fashion education, we cast a light on the forward-looking alumni trained in our schools around the world.

Read more about how they are moving their careers into the future through their work.


Dhruv Kapoor: an endless play of past, present and future to disrupt gender rules and nurture creative expression

Dhruv Kapoor

The fashion designer born in 1988 chose the Milano Fashion school to step into the fashion world. He then continued his training as a member of the womenswear design team at Etro. In 2014 Dhruv founded his Dhruv Kapoor brand in India, awarded by Vogue India as the best emerging brand in 2016. In 2017 he was listed as one of the 50 most influential young Indians by GQ India. He recently joined a talk with the Mumbai students about his latest Soul Tech collection, which sent shockwaves at Milano Moda Uomo.


Alessandro Sartori at Zegna, a balancing act between the future of menswear and heritage

Alessandro Sartori

A Fashion Design graduate in 1989, Sartori was picked by Ermenegildo Zegna as the brand’s creative director in 2003, where he created the “Z Zegna” range. From 2011 to 2016, he joined Berluti as creative director. In 2016 he accepted to return to Ermenegildo Zegna as artistic director. WWD-Women’s Wear Daily awarded Alessandro Sartori Menswear Designer of The Year in 2023.


Nicola Brognano’s butterfly effect enchanting Blumarine: from Italy to setting trends around the world

Nicola Brognano

The Fashion Design Alumnus joined Giambattista Valli Maison immediately after graduating in 2011. He was then hired by Dolce & Gabbana to work on the Alta Moda line. In 2015 he launched his Brognano brand, and winning the “Who’s On Next competitionby Vogue Italia and AltaRoma sped up his success in the fashion industry. In 2019 Blumarine appointed Nicola Brognano as Blumarine’s Creative Director. We recently spent a day with him, and he told us how he got there.


Julie de Libran: creating a brand with a perfect mix of French know-how and sustainability

Julie de Libran

Born in France and Raised in the US, she had a natural talent for fashion, which she expressed by drawing sketches in high school. Seeing her aptitude, her father enrolled her at Istituto Marangoni Milano, where she studied Fashion Design. She found a place at Gianfranco Ferré after graduating in 1991 before moving to Versace. In 1998 she joined Prada, where she stayed for 10 and a half years. After a long experience in a position of power at Louis Vuitton, she moved to Sonia Rykiel as artistic director. In 2019 she launched her Julie de Libran Paris fashion line, which nods at sustainability by making a limited and numbered series of garments to avoid wasteful production.


Pauline Ducruet and the freedom to be yourself: when gender diversity matters

Pauline Ducruet

The Fashion Styling and Creative Direction Alumna studied at the Paris School. In 2018 she founded “Alter Design”, a made-in-France gender-neutral brand that aims to be inclusive, innovative and responsible. In 2022 Pauline Ducruet debuted at Paris Fashion Week with Alter, presenting the Autumn-Winter women’s collection. 


Rocco Iannone: “At Ferrari, people are the vehicles through which projects are born”

Rocco Iannone

Not only fashion but also luxury automotive: it’s the professional path taken by Rocco Iannone, appointed Creative Director of Ferrari in 2019. Iannone oversees the innovative division linked to fashion (i.e., clothing and accessories collections). He began his career in 2006 at Dolce & Gabbana, then moved to Giorgio Armani, where he worked for more than ten years. In 2017 he accepted the creative direction of Pal Zileri.


Umit Benan: the importance of being different from others and the art of imperfection

Umit Benan

Born in Germany to Turkish parents, he became a fashion designer in the US and then decided to attend the Fashion Design Master’s programme at the Milano Fashion School. His significant experience includes renowned brands, such as Marc Jacobs (under Sophie Théallet at François Nars’ Motu Tane label) and Pollini (with Rifat Ozbek). In 2009 he launched his eponymous label Umit Benan and won the first men’s edition of the Who’s On Next competition by Alta Roma with his second collection. Umit Benan became a fashion consultant (for both womenswear and menswear) for Trussardi 1911 in 2012. In 2019 the designer decided to reshape the Umit Benan collection, also launching B+, an individual perception of the Italian sartorial tradition codes, both for men and women.


Jun Zhou: a blend of eastern and western styles to promote genderless fashion

Jun Zhou

Jun graduated in 2013 after attending the Master in Fashion Design Menswear at the Milano Fashion School. Then, he founded the Pronounce brand to bridge East and West aesthetics and break down female and male stereotypes in fashion, focusing on a gender-fluid concept. And did you know Jun Zhou was selected for “Forbes under 30 Asia” in 2019? We discovered 5 fun facts about the brand and its founders.


Victoria Jenkins, a game changer into the world of adaptive fashion: body-positivity is in the air

Victoria Jenkins

Disability is now Unhidden in fashion. That’s what Victoria Jenkins told us during a talk with the London students. She graduated in Fashion Design in 2008 and founded the first disabled-inclusive “Unhidden” fashion brand in 2016: “I have worked with many household name brands – from the high street to high end – over my career. When I became Disabled, it should have been then that I realised that none of my old clothes adjusted to my new needs. But it was during a 10-day hospital stay in 2016 that I met a fellow patient who changed the course of my life and switched on the light bulb.” Victoria Jenkins is also a brand ambassador for Models of Diversity and co-founder of No Comment Required, an ethical slogan clothing range focusing on the positive representation of people with mental health issues and disabilities and all marginalised groups.


Gustavo Martini and his exploration of concepts, forms and volumes to create an experimental language

Gustavo Martini

Born in 1987, the Product Designer studied at the Milan Design School, where he graduated in 2015. The link with Brazil remains strong: besides attending numerous design trade shows, events, and competitions in his native country, he won the IDEA Brazil award twice in 2011 and 2012. During Salone del Mobile 2017, he joined the Young Designer Store project, launched by Istituto Marangoni to support talented Alumni in collaboration with Amazon, which led to a capsule collection available on the Amazon website. In 2017, he was awarded as Next Generation Designer by Wallpaper*. In 2018, his furniture collection “The Grove” was awarded the Wallpaper* Design Award for Best Squaring Up. Today, Gustavo Martini tutors product design students at the IM Design School.



Silvia Tarini
Editorial team, Milan