In 1986, Polimoda was founded as Politecnico Internazionale della Moda in an agreement between two international centres of fashion, and two trailblazers of the industry. Shirley Goodman, the former Executive Vice President Emeritus at FIT in New York and Executive Director of the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries, and Don Emilio Pucci, Marchese di Barsento and founder of the famous Florentine brand Emilio Pucci, came together to create a centre for excellence in fashion education, to serve the city as much as the global industry. The first classes took place at Villa Strozzi in central Florence that year, and the Institute has only grown in strength and influence since then.
A second campus dedicated to knitting and textile creation opened in Prato in 1992, and later in 2000, a third outpost specialising in design was inaugurated in Via Baldovinetti. Bringing together these two purposes in one unified space, the Polimoda Design Lab put down roots in its current location in Scandicci in 2015.
In 2006, Polimoda welcomed its new President, Ferruccio Ferragamo, who was joined by Linda Loppa, former Director and current Advisor of Strategy and Vision. This marked a new era for the Institute, and together in 2011, they inaugurated the campus at Villa Favard where the school remains today.
Massimiliano Giornetti, former Creative Director of Salvatore Ferragamo and Polimoda head of fashion design department, was named the new Director in 2021. He is a Polimoda Fashion Design alumnus and believes in the school's internationality, connection with the city of Florence and development of relationships with the most important companies of the sector.