Vanessa Gounden is one of South Africa’s most successful mining magnates. She is also a fashion designer. Her couture takes inspiration from designs from South African heritage, which she fuses with traditions of local Durban artisans.
She began her career as part of former South African president, Nelson Mandela’s administration in 1994 and also worked with Mandela’s successor, Thabo Mbeki, as manager of the Human Resources for the National Intelligence Agency.
Her career evolved into a passion for fashion and by the time she launched in London in 2011 under the label “Vanessa G”, Vanessa was already dressing international models such as Poppy Delevigne, Jade Jagger, Yasmin le Bon and Natalia Vodianova.
Since then, her wearable-art garments have been showcased at several London, New York and South Africa fashion weeks. International celebrities such as Princess Charlene of Monaco, Nomzamo Mbatha, Pearl Thusi, Orange is the New Black actress Dascha Polanco and James Bond beauty Naomie Harris have also worn her designs.
In 2015, she opened her flagship store in the heart of London’s Mayfair district where she still operates today.
Vanessa is committed to uncovering and sponsoring new artists as well as training and employing craftsman, tailors and seamstresses in fine skills and pattern matching.
The largest annual African fashion event in Europe, Africa Fashion Week London, returns for a ninth season. The event will be staged at the Freemasons’ Hall (60 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AZ) between 9 and 10 August. The day will be filled with catwalk shows and exhibition shopping floors in the Grand Temple venue space, and will include over 100 designers from across the globe showcasing the best of African fashion in London.
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