Global Young Designer Spotlight: Vincetta

Global Young Designer Spotlight: Vincetta

Transparency, sustainability and inclusivity are the driving principles behind New York-based Deanna Ansara’s clothing label, Vincent

This article appears in Volume 30:
The Health Issue

Deanna Ansara defines her label Vincetta as an
“anti-fashion fashion brand” that welcomes disruption and
diversity. She sees Vincetta as not only a label, but also a
vehicle through which to engage in urgent discussions surrounding
sustainability, inclusivity and authenticity. Unafraid of calling
out the industry for its many flaws, Deanna is opinionated, vocal
and committed to creating real change.

In an industry obsessed with perfection, the transparency with
which Deanna shares her processes, both personal and professional,
is comforting, relatable and wildly uncommon. Her personal history
with mental illness fuels her work and reminds us of the necessity
for humanity in design.

As a result, her designs are minimal and put the wearer first; –
her primary concern is the fit and for each woman to feel
confident, comfortable and wholly herself when wearing one of
Vincetta’s garments. The pieces can be layered, worn forwards or
backwards and tied this way or that, taking on the essence of each
wearer and accommodating for women of all shapes and

Where are you from?

My roots are Lebanese, but I grew up in Metro Detroit, about 25
minutes’ drive from Downtown. I’ve now been living in Brooklyn
for nine years.

Can you tell me a bit about your childhood?

A large chunk of my life has been characterised by extreme
adversity. I don’t have many fond or safe memories, which has been
quite difficult to work through. I was recently diagnosed with
PTSD, although my therapist thinks that I am impressively
high-functioning considering what I’ve been through. He reminds me
that I am facing it with courage, and as my subconscious moves
towards consciousness it shows that my mind is strong enough to
heal from years of control, and abuse.

Why did you decide to start Vincent?

Vincetta is my love letter to myself and my mother – I am
healing for the both of us. When I began conceptualising the brand
in 2012, it was before inclusivity, sustainability and mental
health were trending topics, yet these were always my main drivers.
In order to push the boundaries and create a new standard in
fashion, I had to evolve a deeper sense of purpose. By the time I
launched in 2014, I’d created a more evolved and intelligent
approach to design. I wanted something ethical, non-pretentious,
streamlined, elevated, functional and well designed that would fit
everyone. This approach evolved into the phrase “basics for the
non-basic”. The clothing is minimal, but the emotion and process
behind it is not, and the person wearing it is complex with many
layers – just like the brand.

How have these core values shaped the brand?

I want people to feel like their truest selves when they put on
my clothing. Vincetta stands for something larger than just pretty
things. Sure, the pieces are lovely and is made to fit, but that
should be a given, shouldn’t it? This brand is an expression and
exploration of healing, carving out a special place within this
ridiculous industry and touching on uncomfortable and unsettling
issues that no-one else wants to address.

How do you design for size inclusivity?

The design has nothing to do with it, actually. Inclusivity lies
with the fit, and good design is nothing without this. The fashion
industry normally designs for an archetype of what they want a
woman’s body to be, not the reality of her body. The execution of
an inclusive fit takes far more time, attention to detail,
expertise and monetary investment, which is why many companies
don’t do it. It’s that simple.

Can you tell us about your relationship with your body?

I don’t have just one relationship with my body, but several.
I’ve gained about 20 pounds in the past year and a half, which was
incredibly difficult on my psyche. The only thing keeping me sane
is reminding myself that I am more than my body… and of course,
avoiding the jeans that no longer fit. My body has got me through
incredibly difficult times – it is the vehicle that moves me from A
to B – and my self-worth stems from far more than just my physical

What are some of your struggles as a small brand?

Brand awareness, rejection, cost, building trust with stores,
vendors, customers, collaborators, venues…and executing it all in
multiple cities. I’m not afraid to go against the grain and take
calculated risks, but there is no format for the type of brand I’m
creating. There have been many difficulties in advocating for
myself and what I feel is right.

How have you overcome some of these struggles?

Education and a willingness to learn and make mistakes. I’m not
formally trained in business, but being self-taught also allows me
to have a fresh perspective. Two years into my business, I was
exhausted and felt so far from my mission that I nearly quit. Then
my mentor told me that I was actually in a great position, because
I had options: quit, pause, or push on and take control of my life.
It was the best advice I’ve ever been given.

Deanna’s Mini-Guide to Detroit


The Shinola Hotel in Downtown is a fairly
recent opening that I like – its namesake watchmaking brand has its
global headquarters nearby and the hotel shares its functional,
craftmanship-led aesthetic.


2Booli is a
casual Lebanese restaurant in the suburbs with plenty of vegetarian
and vegan options, while J.
is an American restaurant that makes an
other-worldly carrot cake. Downtown, stroll through the Eastern Market to
my favourite café, Trinosophes, before heading to Parks and
Rec Diner
for brunch. For a light dinner, try tapas restaurant
or for a more substantial meal check out The Apparatus Room.


Visit The
Heidelberg Project
to see a very real Detroit – it’s a
neighbourhood of abandoned houses that has been turned into a giant
art installation. My favourite areas of town are the Cass Corridor
and Gratiot Avenue, but if you’re into architecture check out the
Guardian and Fisher buildings as well as the Renaissance Centre.
Pure Detroit
offers tours.


Make sure to stop by Nora, Hugh, and Jack White’s Third Man Records. There are also
some great streetwear brands such as Detroit Not Sorry
, David Vintage, Merit and York Project.


I like The Keep or Castalia at Sfumato, but my favourite speakeasy
in a city that has more than its fair share is The
, 20 minutes’ drive from Downtown.

Discover More
Global Young Designer Spotlight: Phoebe English