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Interview with Anna Vescovi

Home > Designer Interviews > Anna Vescovi

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Anna Vescovi (AV) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Anna Vescovi by clicking here.

Interview with Anna Vescovi at Saturday 28th of May 2022
Anna Vescovi
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
AV: In my fifteen year career as a professional ballet dancer, I had the privilege of traveling the world, soaking in the experiences of new cultures, lifestyles and facets of design. When dancing at Miami City Ballet, Art Basel had come to town around the same time as the commencement of the theater season. I had never experienced such a vivid spectacle of shape, tremendous scale, color and unconventional ideas. Following my time with the Royal Danish Ballet, design had once again crept into my life, speaking though interiors, furniture and cutting-edge textiles; an element of design I had never thought much of before such exposure. It was shortly after my time in Copenhagen that I decided to pursue my creative education at the Savannah College of Art & Design.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AV: As a textile designer, creative prospects range from unconventional garment development to print and pattern for material surfaces. Much of my inspiration is derivative of Scandinavian influence and sophisticated minimalism which can be seen through artistic decisions in the elements of my first fashion collection and CAD designs.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AV: Although originally a CAD designer, there is something so special about the tactility of material design. Following our time in quarantine, SCAD's fibers department did their best to find alternative solutions for textile production from home. It was no easy feat for both students and professors who thrive on the studies of tactile development. This collection of garments was imagined during our time in lockdown, then further executed once lab facilities were made available to the public. The joinery process felt like baby steps in regaining the intellectual connection between physical touch and cerebral cognition.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AV: I thoroughly enjoy creating each garment; individual works contribute unique challenges and victories through their respective elements. I admit there is one specific design which pulled the intrigue of many. The Chrysalis Garment has been one of the most impactful looks of the lineup. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of working with a talented colleague who agreed to model this particular look. I might add, this garment is quite scandalous in its transparent nature and doesn’t shy away from showcasing the complete form. Once our shoot had wrapped, she explained that she’d often felt insecure about her physique, struggling with self image and confidence. When she received the final images, she expressed that she’d felt so empowered, supported and elegant in a garment. Her confidence was apparent in the final images; hailed as a timeless example of fashion and photography across SCAD’s School of Fashion. As a designer who faced similar insecurities throughout my ballet career, the greatest, most rewarding compliment is to provide others a feeling of empowerment from a collection which aims to symbolize just that.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AV: Prototyping to best understand the importance of materiality is crucial, especially when considering the importance of tactility. Through my journey with fashion, accessories and textiles I feel my perspective on creation stems from a microscopic view of garment making. Understanding the complete DNA of a material is essential in crafting a piece which customers can formulate a sentimental relationship with. The importance of tactility is often taken for granted, yet is fundamental in stimulating emotional communication, sentiment, bonding and memory. As Michelangelo once said, “to touch can be to give life.”

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AV: This particular series of acrylic garments has served as a therapeutic outlet of personal healing and self-acceptance. Through the narrative voice of textiles, this collection of garments was created for my senior thesis work. My thesis analyzes the juxtaposition between past and present through freedom and confinement. This collection of acrylic garments serves as an allegorical parallel to my ballet career. As a professional dancer under contract, ballet becomes less about the passion for the art due to an unethical emphasis on unrealistic aesthetic standards of such an antiquated industry. The acrylic joinery is meant to restrict the form in a way which prohibits motion, symbolizing the complex internal feeling of entrapment experienced through ballet. Despite the dark undertones of the collection, the completion of this undertaking has encouraged reconciliation with the past, perfectly timed as I embark on my professional career into the world of fashion design.

FS: What makes a design successful?
AV: Soul, emotion and passion make for a successful design. The greatest artists and designers in history are known for unapologetically pouring personal identity into their creative endeavors.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AV: Innovation is an integral aspect of what one may consider "good" design. There are a lot of designs in existence with great aesthetic standards, but the intentions behind a strong design make all the difference. How does this proposed creation interact with the world? Can it make an impact on societal needs? These were questions I asked myself when developing joinery material and are further addressed in the following question.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AV: When speaking on behalf of my collection, ethics come into fruition with joinery's strategic one-size-fits-all approach. Throughout my ballet career, I’d understood corseted costuming’s restrictive fabrications to prohibit movement and snuff self-expression. Joinery presents malleable properties, elegantly designed for all shapes and sizes. Such capabilities are made possible with simple alterations in adding or removing assembled pieces. A single garment possesses the all-powerful ability to fit any individual without damage to the attire, revolutionizing fashion fabrics from the self-deprecating qualities of unforgiving debilitation. A "good" design isn't surface level, but works to solve a problem surrounding everyday needs of everyday scenarios.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AV: There is an undeniable sense of urgency surrounding the ethics of fashion. Lidewij​​ Edelkoort has composed a declarative manifesto which is an excellent example of industry accountability. In recognizing our former missteps, the collective industry can better advance planetary and humanitarian morals. The revolution of design begins at the core of empathy and at the helm of divergent thinking! As a textile designer, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the intricate processes of fabric production from digital screen to fabricated seam. The collective industry is beginning to see a variety of designers gravitating towards second-hand materials, technological advancements, bio-engineered textiles and scientific developments in effort to provide ethical alternatives for high fashion and ready-to-wear application. To be successful in these endeavors, both consumers and designers must practice patience; to be patient in sourcing, patient in practice and patient in profit. Through our humanitarian crisis, we continue to see cutting edge ideas and forward thinking efforts. Couturier Iris van Herpen’s Roots of Rebirth collection was developed from plastic debris fished from the sea in a bio-collaboration with Parley Ocean Plastic. Meanwhile, British-born ready-to-wear designer Miriam Al Sibai has been devoted to applying vegan Pinatex pineapple leather as an ethical alternative in her chic outerwear. The marriage of unbridled curiosity and cutting-edge development delivers new possibilities for the industry; it is exciting to contribute to this groundbreaking moment in fashion history.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
AV: Paco Rabanne is one of the first high-profile designers to use joinery as a means of unconventional high-fashion application. As an architect turned couturier, his approach to dressing the physique is heavily material-based with an emphasis on form and structure. Just as Rabanne contributed his knowledge of architecture to dress-making, I come from a place of physical awareness, knowledge of kinetics and heightened sense of the physical form as it relates to psychology. Rabanne’s creative investigations with joinery are exceedingly vast; leather, metal scraps, lozenges and plastic were pieced together in a variety of shapely structures and forms. One of the reasons the new wave of open-minded it-girls flocked to Rabanne’s vision was his ability to re-write couture as imaginative and accessible to all. The power behind his theatrical garments exceeded beyond the image, instead taking a deep-dive into a realm of empowered physical embodiment.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
AV: I've always gravitated towards the intentional simplicity of Scandinavian minimalism, with an emphasis on textures and strategic materiality. I tend to employ a neutral palette as I'd never been keen on excessive use of color from a personal perspective. The palette I select must also remain intentional through all facets of the design collection. For this lineup of unconventional garmentry, I've placed a significant emphasis on more unconventional qualities of the acrylic such as transparency and reflection. The Chrysalis Garment is a particularly great example from the collection. In this design, the body of transparent roundels fade into a reflective transparent property around the thigh, then complete the gradient through to an entirely reflective acrylic which graces the hem of the garment. The middle property of semi-sheer reflective acrylic is only apparent when back lit, showcasing the superpowers of the garment if you will. Close attention to detail completes the well-rounded cohesion of each garment’s role within the collection.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
AV: As an American student, we are offered plentiful access to material resourcing. This has remained a game-changer in achieving my collection's vision without much need for artistic compromise. Despite this convenient feature, the American mentality, specifically within fashion, is delayed about two years from the progressive ideas centralized in the heart of the European fashion scene. American designers with a progressive outlook often find themselves misunderstood by the media and customer market. Avant-garde, couture and unconventional fashion thrives in Europe due to the industry's forward-thinking mindset.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AV: Behind each effortless fashion collection lies an intense labor process filled with months of technical ideation. When speaking on behalf of a collection lineup, trend research is key. Looking towards fashion's historical past is also crucial in understanding the direction of a forward thinking industry. From this research, a variety of fashion flats are illustrated to best decide the intricate details of the garment at hand. Next is the meticulously mathematical process of sampled prototypes. Adobe files are submitted to the lab to be laser cut in a variety of labeled methods, to which a favorite is selected for the garment’s complete materialization. Once the finalized cuts are made for the large-scale order, the garment is assembled in the technical pattern decided at the beginning of the ideation process. After many laborious hours, the final garment is physically altered to the model who will wear the look for the editorial shoot.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
AV: As a student, each day presents new possibilities and creative prospects! One aspect remains consistent, the morning always begins with a strong cup of coffee. University classes consist of networking opportunities, project critiques, industry guest visits and provided knowledge of course-relevant understandings. Projects, especially for fashion, are multi-faceted. Apart from material prototyping and sampling, digital preparation and garment making, I must also take on the role of art director, stylist, publicist, graphic designer and on the rare occasion, make-up artist. These elements support the basis of well-rounded preparation for a spontaneous and fast-paced career.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AV: As a designer who navigates industry through intuition, I encourage other young designers to listen to their heart. At university, most institutes offer a variety of programs which are centered around similar facets of design. Remain open to new possibilities, collaborations, suggestions and feedback! Speaking from experience, I arrived at the Savannah College of Art and Design originally for interior studies, but through an inquisitive mindset, my journey was unexpectedly led to the fibers department within the overarching School of Fashion.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AV: I always encourage myself to have fun! What good is creativity if you don’t enjoy your endeavors? When an artist or creative relishes in their project, that same joy is translated into the final product which sparks interest in consumers and design enthusiasts. It’s as simple as that.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AV: Resilience. For the first time in my design career, I've faced both pleasant and critical feedback on behalf of my work with unconventional materials. I've been asked difficult questions which sent me back to the drawing board, developed designs which didn't always work upon sampling and faced unanticipated technical setbacks in the midst of narrow deadlines. Creative burnout is an inevitable roadblock all faced by all artists and designers, leading to a big question mark beside our value of self worth. Speaking from experience, a resilient mindset lights the way to steadfast perseverance.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AV: There are thousands of incredible tools on the market which contribute to the success of a finished garment. The Adobe Suite is used to ideate, sketch and comprise digital elements of the work in progress. Those files are converted into applications for the digital lab to which laser cut elements for garment materialization are produced. From there, the process is far more elementary and only requires jewelry pliers and a few thousand jump rings.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
AV: During my time spent in the ballet industry, discipline was an inevitable skill which was enforced from a very young age. Time management is crucial in adapting to the fast-paced industry of fashion. I'm a huge advocate for a good personal planner, tailored to the individual needs of everyday demands. I find a tremendous amount of satisfaction in ticking off the boxes of my daily responsibilities, which rings especially true for the most laborious of days.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AV: Speaking on behalf of individual garments, each design varies through factors relative to garment scale, size of the laser cut pieces, intricacy of the assembled pattern and external factors such as postal shipping and handling. I work alone as an independent designer so the complex process from start to finish is created with one mind, two hands and a great deal of patience. It's important to note that the count of laser cut pieces could range from 500 to over one thousand, all intricately hand-assembled with miniature jump rings. When the stars align and the complete process operates without tribulation, which is seldom the case, a single garment could take as little as one week. Larger designs which require more sample testing and material development could take slightly over one month from ideation through to completion.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AV: There are endless possibilities of what the next big chapter could hold! One of the greatest gifts of being a creative individual is our open heart and inquisitive mindset. I'm very fortunate to have had an incredible academic support system from peers, mentors and faculty who encouraged endless imagination. Although I'll be transitioning from student to professional, I look forward to carrying the knowledge, connections and eager momentum of my studies into the next passage of this creative journey.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AV: Each garment is imagined, designed and assembled with my own two hands; a daunting task for such an intricate process. When it comes time to bring the garments to life, I credit my photographers, videographers, set designers, assistants, makeup artists and models for their contributions to my vision.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
AV: Although I maintain relative discretion in upcoming design plans, I can joyfully share that the new collection will experiment with joinery through eco-conscious initiatives as well as cosmetic facets of draping, unconventional pattern making, light play and grand scale.

FS: How can people contact you?
AV: I can be reached formally through LinkedIn or the website contact form at AnnaVescoviDesign.com. For more casual requests, my social media direct message platforms are always available.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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