European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal EFHA World

Meeting Fashion Heritage: The Gianfranco Ferré Research Center

European fashionfashion illustrationItalian fashionmeeting fashion heritageresearch

The research centre devoted to the study and preservation of the work of Gianfranco Ferré is officially part of the EFHA Network

The Gianfranco Ferré Research Center, Digital Innovation for the Creative and Cultural Industries, was established in December 2021 by Politecnico di Milano following the Ferré family’s donation of the Gianfranco Ferré Foundation’s archives and headquarters based in Via Tortona in Milan (one of the areas recently developed for services related to the fashion and design sector). The interior was designed by architect Franco Raggi, a former friend of Gianfranco Ferré and designer of the spaces in the Via Pontaccio headquarters in Milan, with the aim of re-creating a Ferré space in colors and material use.

Under the coordination of the Fashion in Process Research Laboratory of the Department of Design and as an integral part of the Library and Historical Archives system of the Politecnico di Milano, the Research Center intends to bring together the technical-scientific know-how and design culture that characterize the identity of the Politecnico di Milano with the material and immaterial heritage related to the history, culture, and techniques of fashion preserved and valorized by the Gianfranco Ferré Foundation which, since its inception in 2008, has aimed to preserve, organize and make available to the public, in the form of a digital archive, the wealth of material documenting the designer’s professional activity.  The archive consists of more than 150,000 documents and artworks, completely inventoried, including about 22,000 sketches and technical drawings and 40,000 photos; 3,000 clothes and accessories; objects belonging to the designer’s collections; more than 1,600 bound volumes per year sector magazines from 1970 to 2007 and finally videos, press reviews, writings, lessons and notes by the designer. The greatest part of this heritage, over 100,000 files, is included in a data base with a coherent and capillary system, in terms of subject matter and chronological, both in the headquarters and online.

The interdepartmental Research Center involves different disciplinary components of the University: the Department of Design, the Department of Mechanics, the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, and the Department of Mathematics. It is grounded on an interdisciplinary vision that combines heritage with innovation and technology. It integrates a deep domain knowledge in design and fashion with ICT, User Experience, and User Interaction skills.


Through research in the field of digital innovation, the Research Center aims to investigate, develop, and experiment with advanced techniques for the visualization, representation, and use of material artifacts. So high cultural content that are typical of the creative and cultural industries and represents a distinctive identity element of Italian culture and its recognition and positioning in the international arena. Moreover, the Research Center intends to promote the dissemination of culture linked to the material and non-material heritage of the fashion sector by proposing dissemination, teaching and increased use of the heritage itself through the use of new technologies, which are used both as tools for the sustainable protection of the heritage and as tools for its dissemination and activation.