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Institut Français de la Mode free online fashion course on FutureLearn attracts 100,000 learners worldwide

9 April, London UK: Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) has launched the second run of its free online fashion course, ‘Understanding Fashion: from Business to Culture’, available now on, the global social learning platform. 

The course includes exclusive insights from the world’s leading fashion experts, including Sir Paul Smith and Simon Porte Jacquemus, alongside other key industry figures, and is currently open for enrolment with over 100,000 learners from almost 200 countries already signed up. 

On the course, learners will explore the interaction of fashion, society and business with IFM professor, Benjamin Simmenauer. Joining Jacquemus and Smith, the course also features expertise and advice from Francesca Bellettini, CEO of Saint Laurent, Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, Guillaume de Seynes executive vice president of Hermès, and Christelle Kocher, founder of Koché.

By the end of the course, learners will gain a deeper understanding of the fashion world and take a dual approach to the study of fashion as both a cultural phenomenon and a creative industry. Learners will also develop key industry skills, including how to interpret fashion silhouettes and explain consumer behaviour and trend diffusion models. 

Delivered in English and subtitled in several languages, the course is accessible to an international audience and on the welcome page of the course, learners from across the globe have shared their reasons for joining the course. Here’s what some of them said:

Georgiana Dan, a student textile surface designer from Dublin, commented: “I joined this course to broaden my understanding of fashion and to be part of a forum of people from all over the world with similar interests”. Aliyah Enous, a design merchandising trainee from South Africa said: “The reason I chose this course was to expand my learning on the fashion industry, thus furthering my career”. While, Anne Matthews, a designer based in the UK and a learner on the course commented “I’m interested in learning about all aspects of fashion, particularly the cultural side.”

Understanding Fashion: from Business to Culture’ is available to join now, it is four weeks long and takes 3 hours of weekly study. 

Catalina Schveninger, Chief People Officer at FutureLearn commented: “It is inspiring to see so many learners from across the globe joining the ‘Understanding Fashion’ course and using the FutureLearn platform during this challenging time to learn new skills, pick up new interests and hobbies and, most importantly, connect with each other over shared passions. I enrolled myself and completed it within a week, I was delighted to learn from the likes of Sir Paul Smith, Simon Jacquemus and other fashion icons but also to see how concepts from sociology, semiotics and even philosophy are weaved in to bring the obsession we have with fashion come to life.”

Benjamin Simmenauer, Professor at Institut Français de la Mode, commented: “We are glad that the MOOC has triggered such a high level of participation and commitment for this second run. In these difficult times, the course allows students from all over the world to form a community, interact with each other, approach each module at their own pace, and ask us questions along the way.”

Notes to editors

About FutureLearn

Here at FutureLearn, our purpose is to transform access to education. We do that by partnering with over a quarter of the world’s top universities to support over 11 million learners across the globe to develop skills and achieve their personal and professional goals. We’re a leading social learning platform founded in December 2012 by The Open University and are now jointly owned by The Open University in the UK and The SEEK Group. We use design, technology and partnerships to create enjoyable, credible and flexible short online courses and microcredentials, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In addition to top universities, we also partner with leading organisations such as Accenture, the British Council, CIPD, Raspberry Pi and Health Education England (HEE), as well as being involved in government-backed initiatives to address skills gaps such as The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education.

About Institut Français de la Mode 

As of 2019, Institut Français de la Mode brings together Ecole de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne, founded in 1927 and recognized for the excellence of its training in couture savoir-faire, and IFM, founded in 1986 and a pioneer in fashion management education. 

Institut Français de la Mode is a higher education institution, a training centre for apprentices, a provider of executive education, as well as a centre of expertise for the textiles, fashion and luxury industries. It provides educational programs from vocational training to doctoral level, by cross-fertilizing design, management and craftsmanship.

Institut Français de la Mode is a member of HESAM Université, of the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles and of the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI). It is supported by the French Ministry of Economy. It is recognized by the French Ministry of Higher Education.



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