Deanna Ansara is the brains and talented hands behind Vincetta Studio, an experimental, gender-neutral clothing brand based in Brooklyn and Detroit. For the next installment in the Journal, we sat down with them to discuss what healing means to them, their approach to de-commodifying fashion while running a fashion brand, and how they think about creativity outside of a capitalist lens.
Hi Deanna! What is currently inspiring you?
Lately what’s inspiring me is to build a life that allows for fluidity in all aspects. I’d like to find more fulfillment in my work and reach a deeper sense of healing, self, and belonging. I like to lead with feeling and genuine thought over aesthetic. Sometimes those two worlds collide and hopefully one day I’ll find harmony and authentic expression simultaneously. I’m making a habit of analog documentation so one day I’ll look back and appreciate how I got from here to where I’m going. It might connect the dots more clearly for my future self and allow me to appreciate the process more.
For the past couple of years it’s been tough to feel inspired or do anything with waves of inspiration that come through. Maybe it’s just a time for rumination and exploration, not a time to define and brand all that I do. It sort of feels like the only way for me to break the patterns and cycles I keep falling back into. Trying to be patient with myself and allow myself to create when it feels good, not because I have to. So, until then, I just keep moving through it and am open to what comes next.
Vincetta Studio seems to be in a state of flux, as you add in vintage styles you've sourced, limited edition pre-order styles, and home goods. What's exciting you most about this new chapter of your business?
I’m just starting to peel back the layers of what the next iteration could look like. It’s intimidating but necessary in order to find a practice that feels aligned with who I am and where I want to go. Through playing around with different concepts over the past year, I knew it would be an experiment. It’s helping create a shift in my relationship with failure and perception - getting me closer to what I do and don’t want.
The most recent project is developing these up-cycled experiments made from vintage garments. They feel more like conversation pieces; they’re one-of-one. I’m all for de-commodifying clothing, that’s in part why I started the brand. Another project I’ve been playing with are the audio recordings and visual notes I’m documenting through Patreon. I’m figuring out how it all fits together, but that’s not for me to know yet.
With Vincetta, we are working within a branded and fashion space, which means there are specific parameters to follow in order to sustain. I’m looking forward to building a space that includes different facets of my work — a study of the mind, creation, conversation, and community.
How has your relationship to your creativity changed or adapted over the years?
As a kid, it was a way to cope and in some ways, prove my worth. Lately, or for a while now, it feels a bit hazy. My relationship evolved in ways that have expanded my mind, but also in ways that have hindered me once I started solely viewing creativity through a capitalistic lens. It brings me back to a place of valuing my existence based on what I create. I’m trying to move away from that - getting to know the parts of me I left behind and the parts of me I haven’t gotten to know yet. I’m giving myself space to explore, create, and think outside of a “ brand” or “content driven” perspective. It feels essential.
You recently relocated part-time to Detroit from your home base in New York City. How is the move changing your approach to Vincetta, creativity, and life in general?
I’m in the midst of it all so it’s tough to put into words how the move has changed me. Detroit moves much slower which naturally shifts pace, attention to detail, gives you more time to think. The slowness has been so important to my healing process, I’ve confronted and processed some pretty heavy memories - ones that I’ve been running from for a long time. Within that healing comes a natural shift in how I approach Vincetta, creativity, and life. It has brought more clarity in the ways I’d like to exist in the world. This past year, my goals and what I would define as success were less financially focused and more so on allowing myself to have a break, heal, explore new ideas, and get to know myself more intimately.
The most inspiring part about Detroit is that the art and music scene are unlike anywhere else. It’s attracting people who are trying to build something new, not build upon an existing foundation. I get to try things out here in ways I couldn’t before due to space, time, and expense. There’s a DIY mentality, grit, and authenticity that I like and miss being around.
What distracts or blocks your artistic side?
Focusing too much on “efficiency” and thinking through a capitalistic lens. There’s a time and place for those things, but these should be distant thoughts when focusing on creation. With fashion, it’s so cyclical and driven by newness, so you have no choice but to rush through the next thing you’re going to release. After a while it gets frustrating knowing our attention spans keep getting shorter and we are on this ‘new, sale, new sale’ cycle. It kind of makes me not want to create.
On an internal note, I tend create a lot of distrust within myself and put all of my self-worth into what I create. I second-guess and doubt my abilities out of sheer imposter syndrome and in part from childhood trauma and my fear of being perceived. My interests, both aesthetically and in subject matter, are pretty contradictory. I have a fear of being alienated if I show all the different sides of me - generally we like what is palatable and easily recognizable, I have a hard time committing to one identity but I would like to get to a point where I can fluidly move through my different personas and work on trusting in myself and my perspective. I’d like to be okay with not being palatable to everyone so I can lean into creating what feels good and true to me, not trying to fit in or emulate or fit into a box that doesn’t quite make sense for me.
Is there a place you go to recharge and refuel?
The sun, movement, prayer, and conversation.
In general, being outside and moving without any distractions from the digital world is a solid one. Prayer for me usually happens in the shower. It’s been my safe space since a kid. I’m not tied to any one religion, but I find that baring myself with openness and a removed ego leads me to a deep inner peace. Asking for guidance, strength, and spreading good thoughts and a warm light onto as many people as I can visualize. It’s humbling and wonderful. Then, there’s the conversations that leave me inspired and emotionally charged to push through. When I can reach periods of feeling safe and at ease, in part thanks to these three elements, I can get into a solid creative flow and giving/receiving with a sort of openness that I wish to never leave my side.
Who helps you think through ideas?
The people I love, the ones who understand me. My former and future self. And sometimes my therapist. No thoughts are just our own - ideas are a culmination of everything we consume, surround ourselves with, and the conversations we have. The ways I work through ideas is not linear. Sometimes I’m talking things through regularly with other people and sometimes I’m more introspective. Now that I’m thinking of going back to school, I think there will be an entirely new set of people I talk things through with so I can learn from their experiences and start to more clearly define the direction I’d like to go with it. In the end, whether if it’s with ourselves or with people we admire, there’s a power in putting words to an idea, seeing them on paper or hearing them out loud.