I met Angel Aguilar, a sophomore who attends California State University Northridge, at the beginning of spring semester. His peace-loving attitude and easygoing personality initially captured my attention.
It wasn’t until later that I found out he is the creator of his own clothing line, a line that he designed to give everyone who wore his attire a boost of confidence.
He branded it "Vipassana Co." after India's most ancient techniques of meditation and means to see things as they really are.
The mission statement reads: “Vipassana aims to swim upstream, against the mainstream clothing labels currently influencing our youth. Through original works, we will slowly begin to reverse the affects that have been plaguing our youth and come to a new age of peace, love, and respect.”
The “plague” the brand refers to can be seen at colleges such as CSUN. For example, when walking around campus, you’ll see young men wearing shirts that read, “Cool story, babe. Now go make me a sandwich,” and other derogatory images plastered on their chests. Vipassana aims to do the opposite.
With his T-shirts and clothing apparel, Aguilar isn’t just trying to spread cheer and happy fuzziness; instead, he wants others to view things as they truly are. Think of his clothing as a more realistic form of positive thinking.
This budding fashion designer let me take a dive into his vast, creative pool of positive thinking—his views are truly inspiring.
How did you stumble on the idea of creating your own clothing line?
It started with my Intro to Psych [class]. The vulnerability of human beings and the fragileness of their minds became apparent. Anything and everything in our environment affects us. This is how the idea for Vipassana came about.
When I look at a T-shirt, I see a blank canvas, which can be used as a medium for people to share ideas. Take a look around and what do you see on most of today’s streetwear? Drugs, sex, alcohol and many other things tabooed by society. If an individual is constantly bombarded by these types of images everywhere they go, they will begin to internalize what becomes familiar to them.
What exactly is the idea behind "Vipassana Co.?"
The real idea is to improve the morality, confidence—the overall attitude of future generations. This is more like investing in our future generations, planting good seeds in their minds…the companies we have today, they put weed and other stuff on their attire. These kids don’t know what they are wearing. I feel like if the kids are going to be wearing it, then the kids should be in charge. Like, how does a 40-year-old know what the youth wants to wear?
Where does your inspiration come from?
Never copy. I hate copying. Everything has to be original, and it has to be different. You find the flow, and you go against it. Since you are going against the flow, you will find resistance, but you have to keep in mind that there are other people who are also tired of seeing these negative messages.
Who is your target audience?
I want to focus on the youth, ages 15-23. I want to focus on that young, delicate age that we all go through. We all go through physical puberty pretty young, but we also go through a mental puberty when we are in our twenties.
What is the impact you hope will result with your clothing line?
I want kids who are able to defend themselves, not physically but mentally. I want these kids to be able to have a voice, be confident, because a lot of these kids are “street kids.” They build bonds on the street, and I feel like these kids are getting worked by the system. I want to give them the tools they need to protect themselves.
Where do you see Vipassana Co. taking you?
When I first started this, I wasn’t in it for the money, and I still am not. The only reason we have to charge is because (obviously) we spend some money. As long as I break even, that’s enough for me. It’s a side project. I never really thought about quitting school and pursuing this full time. It’s a side hobby that will grow as I grow, slowly but surely.
You are a college student and you have a part-time job. How do you find the time to work on your clothing line?
I am lucky that I actually like doing this stuff. I don’t view this as a job. I use it as my outlet. Time wise, it is just when I find the time. I mean, I have to balance everything. I alternate weeks between homework and creative work. I don’t find it difficult to find the time for this.
Vipassana Co.'s website will be launching soon!