The story
behind Secoli

Fashion heritage and culture
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Istituto Secoli was founded by Carlo Secoli in Treviso in 1934 and today is one of the oldest and most prestigious fashion schools in Milan.

The founder’s will is to spread sartorial culture and tradition and, at the same time, transmit a professional method of how to design and bring to life perfectly-designed garments to young students.

In 1945 Carlo Secoli decided to transfer the school to the city of Milan, anticipating and helping to form the great cultural and societal trends that make Milan the heart of fashion business. In those years of economic expansion and cultural ferment, the School demonstrated its ability to recognise the needs of its stakeholders and anticipate future demands of the industry, in so doing becoming the benchmark of clothing industries in a matter of years.

The first training programs

The first courses were Patternmaking courses. The innovations introduced to this course (in terms of geometry, anthropometry and creativity) allow for accurate creation, development and transformation of any model so as to indelibly marry the history of Istituto Secoli to the history and evolution of the patternmaking industry.

The transition from tailored patternmaking to one based on sizes, the development of the first scientific methods of grading, constant technical updating, as well as collaboration with manufacturers of CAD systems, are just some of the chapters of a tradition and culture of innovation that have contributed to Istituto Secoli becoming, without doubt, the most renowned school of fashion in the world.

60s and 70s

In 1962, in partnership with the research offices of the most important manufacturers of machinery for packaging as well as American training schools, the School created a course entitled "Time-Motion Study and Business Organisation" with the primary objective of promoting professional development in terms of the organisation of work in garment industries.

In 1965 Istituto Secoli opened its courses to young graduates and introduced the “Figurine” and “Stylist” courses, which also train professionals who work in the most creative fashion companies.

Before then, the courses were only intended for technicians who were sent by companies. Since 1975, with the creation of the Regions, the Institute's courses have been recognised by Regione Lombardia, which accredited Istituto Secoli in 2004, following its inclusion in a professional and official register that includes every accredited Training Organisation.


The first academic courses started in 1982. June 1984 saw the first edition of the Secoli Fashion Show, which was organised by the Institute at the Hilton Hotel in Milan. Nowadays, the annual Secoli Fashion Show is much more than just a runway show, it's an unmissable event in the Institute’s agenda that also marks an important milestone of this unique learning process.

The event represents a great opportunity for students to put the method they have acquired during the learning process into practice, and witness step-by-step progress. Over the course of several months, Istituto Secoli becomes a real worskhop where technique, proficiency and passion come together to form a fashion collection, which is inspired by a different theme every year.

During the evening presentation the best students are awarded with a stage with the most prestigious fashion companies, in addition to receiving useful technical instruments and scholarships to expand their knowledge.


In 1990, the Institute carried out its first organisational consultation, whichb was coordinated by Danilo Migliorini, Consulting and Teaching Area Director. To this today, more than 100 companies have chosen Istituto Secoli as a partner with the aim of improving organisation in terms of design and production.

Since Januray 1992, Stefano Secoli has been at the head of the Institute. He shares the same spirit and is driven by the same dream as the founder, his father Carlo Secoli: teaching how to design and create fabulous garments.

About the Institute today

Since 2007, 62 years after its foundation in Milan, the Institute's head office now resides in Viale Vittorio Veneto 18/A, one of the most beautiful places in the heart of the city. The Institute is surrounded by old walls of a historical building located in the Porta Venezia area and is within walking distance of the 'fashion square' in via Montenapoleone.

The first “Master's in Patternmaking” courses were introduced in 2010, specifically designed to provide outstanding training to graduates in Fashion Design.

October 2016 saw the opening of a new school in Guangzhou, China, with a view of getting onto the international stage. As well as courses for local professionals there is also a training course for young talents, with the first two years of study taking place in Guangzhou and the third at our main school in Milan. The Istituto Secoli campus in Guangzhou is located inside the Guangzhou Textile Exchange Park, also known as Xingang82; an industrial park specialised in the fashion industry. Located in the lively quarter of the Zhongda Textile Circle in 82 Xingang Xi Road, the industrial park was originally a factory that belonged to the famous 'Huanan Brand' sewing machine, which covers a space of 150,000 square metres.

Istituto Secoli has become a worldwide school of reference for the study and training of patternmaking. It is a hotbed of talents in a highly dynamic, contemporary and international environment, where students can learn the 'Secoli Method', a key factor of success for tomorrow's fashion makers. Over the years, the Institute has trained many famous students, among whom: Claudio Marenzi, Chairman of Pitti Immagine and CEO of Herno; Pino Lerario, the creative mind behind the Italian brand “Tagliatore”; Roberto Raimondi, designer for Aquilano and Rimondi, and Miaoran, the young Chinese designer whose brand has been chosen and supported by Giorgio Armani.

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