Interview: Valentino Vettori of IMPROVD

February 15, 2011

Valentino Vettori’s frustration with the restrictive price points of high quality garments led him to create the label IMPROVD. He's always interested in making high quality, clean and conceptual pieces but at affordable prices so that his tribe of fans can appreciate his wares in their own actual wardrobes. For his most recent Fall 2011 collection, Vettori explored the concept of human perception and its impact on others, using holograms of models against a white cut out silhouette for the presentation to ultimately drive the point home. We spoke with him backstage at the presentation in New York. (images via Gawker and Fashionologie)

Was it your idea to come up with the holograms for the presentation?

Yeah, it’s my brand so I have to always try to explain to my people what I like. At the end of the day it’s like this magical world in my mind that I have to bring out and share with you guys.

What was the process like coming up with the holograms from conception to the final product?
The inspiration for this season is perceptions, how we all perceive things differently. What I think is cool, what you think is cool—how the first twenty seconds of an opinion or an impression is normally wrong. [Because] you [have to] have a little bit more time to get to know the person. What I decided to do was create this new idea of fashion week where models were maybe real or maybe a hologram. The difference is for me they’re very real because I spend so much time with these girls. I know their name, but for you they’re holograms. It’s the perception of what is cool or what is not, what is real or what is not, you know.

What do you perceive to be cool or what do you perceive to be interesting?
My daughters’ cool.

And what’s your daughter’s name?
Isabel. No, you can’t really define cool because it’s a very individual thing. We are all divided into tribes. For example, I’ll never say that sportswear or active wear is not cool. Whoever is into that full on will probably think that’s much more cooler than my stuff. I respect everybody. It’s just about who you target and who you’re friends are. And you know this is my little clan. And that’s how I define myself. We all energize each other.

So what initially attracted you to design in the first place?
In fashion there’s a point when you wish to become a little arrogant, because you start to complain about everything like ‘Oh my god look at that guy’. So at that point you [kind of] have to say, A) I’m arrogant or B) I really have an opinion. And the only way to decide that is to do it and show yourself you can do it. I could find things that I like [but] they were so expensive and I didn’t understand why it had to cost so much. It’s not only about making beautiful products—it’s making a beautiful product at an affordable price. Making a beautiful product is so simple. You produce in Italy, you buy Italian fabric—that’s not the point. The point is, how can I make beautiful products with the tools that allow me to be at a good price. That means basic materials, Indian manufacturing, and being smart. Sometime when I make a piece and I just add one seam they reduce the price because of consumption. So I spend a lot of time understanding what can I do to make sure that my friends get the best garment at the best price. So it’s a little bit about sensitivity at the fact that today money is important and let’s not throw them away and fashion doesn’t always have to be so expensive.

Can you talk about your fabric selections?
At the end of the day it’s cotton, it's leather, it’s lyrca, it’s viscose, so the fabrics are for everybody. The difference is that I don’t look for the latest, most crazy fabric because that is too expensive and I don’t want it.

How did you come up with the name?
Because in life you always have to grow. Remember when I told you I was always kind of challenging myself or challenging the other. So I decided I have to improve myself. So I was like, ‘Ok improved’ but then I thought how do we improve. By improvising. Improving or improvising was me the essence of fashion.

Posted: February 15, 2011
Interview: Valentino Vettori of IMPROVD