Allison Vicenzi - Designer, #NoNewStuff Leader

Meet Allison - 

 Hustle is something you either have or you don't and Allison Vicenzi has it in spades. The designer and movement leader has found quite the niche for herself - a clothing designer fighting the wasteful habits of today's fashion industry. In 2016 she committed herself to forgoing any new purchases and has extended that promise into 2017, buying only second hand goods. She's since initiated the #NoNewStuff campaign encouraging others to pledge their commitment to combating wastefulness and the overuse of virgin materials in apparel production. 

With this in mind, the last thing you'd think Allison did for a living was design clothing, but alas, what better way to fix something than from the inside out. Allison is launching her first design, a wear everywhere, double-breasted Italian wool blazer, this fall under her label VICENZI. Using high quality, sustainable materials and modern tailoring this blazer will never find itself in a landfill. 

Scroll on to learn more about Allison and peek into her colorful Chinatown home and studio.

  • Who: Allison Vicenzi
  • Where: Chinatown, NYC
  • Light: Medium to Low
  • Plant Breakdown: Philodendron selloum, Golden Pothos, Dracena colorama, Maranta leuconeura, Hemigraphis repanda
  • Connect: VICENZI, @vicenzi.co

Hey, who are you?

My name is Allison Vicenzi – I love to make things and hate to waste things. After years of keeping secret notebooks filled with ideas, I set out this past year to start my own fashion brand. It's been a dream of mine since I drew my first collection at age 10 (that line was called "Lady 2 Cool" but never made it to reality).

Oh man, I would have totally bought something from "lady 2 cool" when I was 10. How did you get from there to VICENZI?

 I've been infatuated with vintage design, personal style, and DIY projects for as long as I can remember but learned about the problems plaguing the fashion industry (particularly garment waste) after I graduated. I wanted to use my time and talents to help fix these problems and provide customers with better options to help do things better as well. VICENZI is a brand inspired by timeless styles, attention to detail, and most importantly beautiful products with enduring quality. I'm focusing on women's blazers to start, because a blazer is an essential piece of any powerful woman's wardrobe and I could never find a design that was flattering and high-end without taking up my entire paycheck.

What part of VICENZI are you the most proud of?

I'm proudest that VICENZI is incorporating a closed-loop system to recollect garments when no longer needed, as a way to give value back to the customers while also extending garment life cycles to minimize waste. The system is sustainable by design, from product development using natural materials through to the recycling of garments at the end of their useful life.

I've heard you're stridently committed to reducing waste in your daily life, can you tell me more about #NoNewStuff?

As part of my research phase for VICENZI, and as a personal challenge, I stopped buying new things for all of 2016 (and now into 2017). It has been the most rewarding lifestyle shift, saving time and money to focus on what matters most to me–family, friends, work, and experiences. Everything had to be purchased secondhand to keep in line with #NoNewStuff.  It takes time and patience, though. That's been the steepest learning curve – taking things slow and learning to enjoy (and trust) the process and rely on faith, on synchronicity. Erica reminded me of that when I first moved into this space, told me to take it step by step and just get a few meaningful items at a time. And she was right. I didn't need much to make the space workable and livable, and to match that drawn vision. The last item I added was that big selloum. Then I knew the vision was complete. I can now fully attest to the belief that if you can visualize something, and write it down, you can make it happen!

Do you mean like visualizing your future office space like you did in your notebook? 

Yeah - When I decided I wanted to start a company of my own, I filled up a tiny green notebook with the mission and plans. I did this over the course of two weeks and am still carrying out those original plans over a year later. I am not much of an artist but I drew a rough sketch of the future office. I didn't own anything in the drawing but that was the vision I had for the space, along with the company's sustainability mission written out on the left side. Within the next year, I had somehow managed to make that office space a reality, from the clothes I was wearing through to the plants and furniture. Plants don't count as "stuff" in my definition so I am happy I got to enjoy the fruits of Little Dig's creative endeavor to bring life to my quirky hybrid office space!