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Vanessa Gounden

Spring / Summer 2020

The Respect Collection

Since the inception of Vanessa’s eponymous fashion label, she has constantly pushed the boundaries of what fashion is and what it represents. Transforming fashion into wearable art, each design tells a story about social responsibility, political reform and the need for environmental change. Each collection is a reflection of Vanessa’s artistry and activism, which is carefully curated through her signature digital prints. Combining her historical background and her eclectic style the brand has been making strides in the fashion and art world since 2011.

Her latest Spring Summer collection titled RESPECT is aimed to raise awareness on the issue of the destruction of our natural environment. Humanity should take cognizance that our actions are directly affecting our already finite resources and we as a society should treat our natural world with more RESPECT, for it’s the only habitable planet that we have (for now).

Vanessa translates this sentiment in a four-part story that encompasses the most important aspects of our natural environment, while merging it with the translucent pastel colours of summer and the soft and unconstructed cuts of spring.

The AQUA VIDA story raises awareness about our need for fresh water. Scales, shells and plastic embellishments of miniature beaded bottles are a reflection of human pollution of our fresh water supplies. The plane-wreck artwork is a metaphor for our damage to the eco-system and degeneration of our natural habitat. The layered ruffles and trims are enhanced through ombre effects of the pastel colours used in the story.

TERRA forms as story two, which is an artistic expression of the Earth reacting to pollution on a chemical level. Acidic landscapes are portrayed on digital prints, which is enhanced through smocking, pleating techniques and raw edges. Vanessa also incorporates eroded techniques and crystal beading to synergy with the prints.

The third story is aptly titled WASTE, which is a direct reference to how we as a society pollute our land. This story is artistically translated through printed textures and incorporates the suminagashi technique. The designs are enhanced through hand embroidery with fraying trims. Tube beaded clusters adorn the garments and make them wearable pieces of not just art but activism. SO PLEASE DO NOT LITTER.

SUSTAINABILITY is the final story in the collection and is a plea to go organic. The summery final story portrays vibrant prints of foliage and flowering cluster landscapes. These bold and beautiful prints are a reminder of the beauty of our natural planet. Utilizing plastic piping and lace applique, the urge to reduce pesticides in agriculture and adopt a healthy lifestyle is expressed.

Let us leave a different legacy than our predecessors and RESPECT our planet and its environment. If we can express this through the medium of art and fashion than we can make daily changes in our lives to lead a sustainable future.