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Vìen disrupts the concept of Punk tailoring with a cultural clash

Designer Vincenzo Palazzo discusses how «fashion creates us, we don’t create fashion; it’s like music that finds ears to reach out for its evolution»

Born in 1985 in Putignano, Apulia, Italy, Vincenzo Palazzogrew up in a family full of youngsters. Putignano had approximately three discos and a population of twenty thousand people at that time. The city had been active for the factories manufacturing outwears for big brands. Apulia has traditionally been a production site of clothes and cheese factories. Exploring life with people was the source of knowledge and studies throughout his school days made him more mature than his age. «My grandmother was a seamstress and raised me when my mother was 20 My uncle and aunts used to listen to music and had a fine taste for life: artists from the Eighties like Pet Shop Boys, Jesus and Mary chain and many indie music bands». Palazzo had fallen in love with music by teenage years. He bought his first record at the age of ten and by the age of eleven he was introduced to subcultures of mods, punk and hip hop.

He was fascinated by clothes from the music industry «Once I went from Putignano to Bari just to buy a British magazine. During teenage years I was a punk». The financial challenges restrained Palazzo from pursuing higher studies in university. After completing high school, he left Putignanoand returned back at the age of twenty-five. Palazzo spent some years living in Milan and London where he lived for three years studying and searching for street culture and music in depth. While in London he used to go to a club called Plastic People which introduced him to electronic music producers such as Four Tet, Joy Horbison, and Floating Points. This encouraged Palazzoto start organizing underground parties in Apulia with music from London’s culture with multiple genres Electronic, Dub-step and Jungle.

Vien spotify
VÌEN x Spotify playlist Under the influence

After three years of experience as an organizer, Palazzo launched his own club called Kode-1 where he would bring electronic artists like Peggy Gou, Kode9 and Ben Ufo. Palazzo’sfondness with fashion made him restyle the existing clothes that were available in the market and question why the garments were the way they were. In the process Palazzo began designing his own line after meeting Leila the PR who believed in his project: the VìenAtelier. In 2017 after his first show at Milan Fashion Week he closed the club and instead focused on designing. «With hundred ideas it was about the feeling and the attitude. The inspiration came from the music which made me approach a collection like a contemporary expressionist with fusions of modernism from Vienna but not in a classic way». Respecting the history and evolution of fashion, he created silhouettes with a twist of contemporary tailoring and patterns with constructions for implementing a futuristic mentality. 

Early in the process the name of the brand was Vìen, where VI were the initials of Vincenzoand EN for Elena, Vien’s patternmaker. «Street was all punk in style. I discovered the altered meaning of punk through Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. Punk with a sense of destruction with the meaning of ripped clothes and deformity of the classic styles. If you take Junya Watanabe or Vivienne Westwood you’d discover their anti classic tailoring, giving a feeling which is found in punk music. A connection between fashion and music is old». The direction of Vìen took its turn through the changes that were happening in Palazzo’s personal growth. The individual evolution and the evolving of the brand in these years is in sync with the collective unraveling and understanding of the process of the creative business and its merchandise. «Vìen it’s a clash. It follows the mood of minimal music, more genres blended with one another. Steve Reich or musicians like Kode9 and Ben Ufo. Everything started in London». Palazzo discovered cross cultures in the UK where African people played free jazz on which young teenagers danced. «It was shocking to see – the same musicians loved raving and then later their music got converted into dancing style with beats, it’s exciting to see how people adapted to one another and created something new which is a pure creative evolution, making one believe how everything is connected to each other in such a manner with stories that are not well known. This curiosity catches the eye and pushes one to see things beyond the surfaces. This gives depth to broaden the observations and understandings». 

vien i smell you on my clothes
VÌEN ‘I Smell You On My Clothes’ FW 20-21

This generation has a multitude of cultural references that go beyond the geographical borders because of the information which is being absorbed from opposite corners of the world. This lack of cultural borders allows for a fluidity in creativity.  «When I go to the office, I check the fabric by feeling its quality. The process is the same for all creators: it’s vital to go with the flow and let the elements of creation tell their own story. It’s a co-creative process. What I create, creates me in return; it’s a win-win situation. These senses make us do things which define us as human beings. It’s a beautiful feeling which cannot be described in words but only experienced. I like the idea of playing with the existing notion of fabrics».To get to the final collection, Palazzo has to go through several trials and errors until he’s satisfied by the work. It’s a strenuous process, one that the designer sees as fundamental for his creation. «It’s the suffering that pushes us and shouts from within to be released and set free – My nightmare about this moment of global lockdown and the pandemic was to not be able to create. I don’t care about failing but just creating. I love being in my own world where things are answers of unasked questions».

The construction of the clothes creates a mood with an aim to build a product that ends up  producing and understanding of diversities with freedom as purpose. A conscious thought on the sense of the feminine. A schizophrenic idea of male and female. Cover and discover. Mix genres and items. The characteristics of the individual become an essential condition of style. «We belong to the world; the world doesn’t belong to us. The matrix in which we live has people who are full of unconscious consumption, who are ignorant of the facts that they are destroying our own existence and evolution. We have questions that no one wants to answer. The solution to social entrapment is freedom which exhales through the efforts made by the creative community as a beautiful outrage». Vìenis the space of polarities where expression is in the form of silhouettes stitched with deformity in construction. Creative freedom is liberation towards building a street culture and trend that serves the anti-classic streetwear. It is influenced by contemporary music as the point of intersection of cultures. Vìen for the first time launched a menswear collection taking inspiration from the Eighties the contemporary Italian and Japanese fabrics with sartorial references such as Tasmanian with the fluid hand of jersey with the retro of 50s inspired by the theme of movement of the grandfather’s travel bag capsule.

IMAGE GALLERY

Vincenzo Palazzo is an Italian Designer that combines tailoring with streetwear for a postmodern classic wardrobe. Vìen opens a discussion on the frenetic succession of collections, proposing archetypes with a timeless allure and contemporary attitude.

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