"Would the Venus of Milo be so celebreted if it had arms?" - Céline Santini
As a kid, you don't really care about your appearance or clothing.
Then some mean comment, a harsh comparison, a shameful situation become the seeds to insecurity, which is a weed difficult to eradicate.
In the digital age, with social media and Instagram in particular, perfection is more than an ideal, it's an obsession. Flaws cause social anxiety, fashion is artificial, conventional, somehow boring.
As a consequence, vintage now represents a shelter. A place where your style doesn't depend on trends, but on your own personality. Where freedom of speech is the one and only rule. Where individuality is a value you should protect, not hide. To put it simply, it's where you love what makes you unique.
A.N.G.E.L.O. introduces Impersocial, a project aiming to highlight the value of being authentic through unique vintage pieces. And break the rules using vintage to create something different.
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“Impersocial” is the union of the words “imperfection” and “social”: imperfection connects freedom of expression and the world of social media.
The suggestion is to stop chasing after illogical standards of perfection, and choose to be and dress like yourself without filters, embraceing the differences that make us ourselves, both for our body and our closet. Just learn to accept imperfections and flaws, and even highlight them, because they are personal, they are unique qualities.
Pursuing perfection, which fashion and technology tend to encourage, is a cultural aberration: it's in opposition with the natural desire of humans to express their individuality. That's why it brings sadness and insecurities.
Impersocial applies this philosophy to vintage fashion: you shouldn't fear imperfections, because they are exactly what makes you who you are.
Imperfection is the core of the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, rooted in Zen Buddhism. This aesthetics identifies the ability to appreciate "beauty in imperfection" for its simplicity and impermanence.
This philosophy is the basis of the Japanese art of kintsugi, which consists in recovering broken bowls or crockery using gold to put the pieces back together.
It's a charming, ancient practice that can be somehow compared, in more recent times, to recovering vintage and second-hand clothing, also by upcycling the more damaged ones.
Items with small signs of wear or imperfections can be more beautiful than the new or perfect ones: resilience is part of their attractiveness.
Artists and intellectuals, in fact, embraced imperfection and made it one of their main sources of inspiration: for instance, photographers like Peter Lindberg, well-known for his "natural style" shots - in contrast with Photoshop and filters, painters like Picasso, a great scientist like Rita Levi Montalcini, an important poet like Catullus, or the appearance of models of the likes of Gisele Bundchen, Georgia Jagger or Kate Moss. “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion”, said painter Francis Bacon.
This is an art and cultural manifesto, aiming to fight against the draining pursuit of conventional beauty as social media and fast fashion have been promoting. The goal is also to encourage a more sustainable, aware lifestyle as a natural consequence of this behaviour, and have a more positive impact on environment through the fashion industry.
Thus, a vintage piece is the symbol of a more meaningful, sophisticated aesthetics, but also a tool offering a green alternative to the vicious, polluting circle of fast fashion and to the irrational, massive consumption of clothing in modern times.
A second-hand dress, a vintage bag, a recycled pair of jeans have a charm you cannot replicate - their story and their lifetime are what makes them unique and exclusive, irresistible and attractive.
Hiding what traditional standards of beauty would define as imperfections - a big nose, teeth leaning forward, a curvy body - is just nonsense. Choosing vintage clothing that may even have a sign of wear, a little hole or stain, means understanding its value beyond the imperfection and look at it as a unique, personal detail that is not homologated to everything else. In fashion, the accessory everyone has is the first you get tired of. We are not made for adjusting ourselves to one only standard: in fact, there's no beauty in homogenization. When looking at someone or something, you don't remember their perfect symmetry or balanced appearance, but the detail that makes them stand out.
When you are authentic, you feel free. Because you're demonstrating to love and embrace your personality, both in your attitude and in your everyday style. And if you're also protecting our planet, that's definitely worth it.
The Impersocial project, in collaboration with Micol Biondi from the Istituto Europeo di Design of Florence, is taking over the Instagram account of A.N.G.E.L.O. Vintage Lab, A.N.G.E.L.O.'s boutique and creative lab in the city centre of Faenza (Ra), offering a collection of vintage and second-hand clothing and accessories with a fresh and contemporary twist, including a selection of upcycled pieces, each one with its own story and personality.