MY WORLD

SOUTH AFRICAN EN­TRE­PRE­NEUR AND OWNER OF LUXURYBRAND STORE D’ORÉ VANESSA GOUNDEN IN­CLUDES A FASH­ION LA­BEL, VANESSA G LON­DON, AMONG HER MANY AC­COM­PLISH­MENTS. SHE TALKS TO US ABOUT BREAK­ING THE MOULD AND THE BUSI­NESS OF STYLE

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - AS TOLD TO JARED ETHAN BLAKE

Vanessa Gounden

iwas a free-spir­ited child: liv­ing each day with aban­don and a huge sense of cu­rios­ity. I grew up on a small­hold­ing where my fam­ily had lived for gen­er­a­tions; we sup­plied roses to district florists. I was sur­rounded by a big fam­ily, which gave me sup­port and con­fi­dence, but also en­cour­aged a healthy com­pet­i­tive­ness. I was a tomboy, al­ways aim­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery­thing first-hand, whether rid­ing a bi­cy­cle around for hours or sell­ing cans to make some ex­tra pocket money. My en­tre­pre­neur­ial skills de­vel­oped early be­cause I was con­stantly look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties. I knew I wanted suc­cess, but not just ma­te­ri­al­is­ti­cally: I wanted to break the mould. My fam­ily was forcibly re­moved from their land and their liveli­hood when I was young. See­ing my par­ents and grand­par­ents live through that ex­pe­ri­ence helped spark my po­lit­i­cal con­scious­ness.

I am drawn to­wards style, so fash­ion was al­ways on the cards for me. From a young age I had an eye for de­tail. I loved dress­ing up. I find cre­ative en­deav­ours re­ward­ing, which is how I came to es­tab­lish my fash­ion brand, Vanessa G Lon­don. Style should re­flect the in­ner beauty of a woman. Women must have a sense of con­fi­dence, el­e­gance and piz­zazz. Coco Chanel is a muse be­cause she had the fore­sight to see how women’s lives were chang­ing and how their style needed to change with them. I think of fash­ion as art, and I bring that per­spec­tive to Vanessa G Lon­don. Fash­ion and mu­sic are my two pas­sions. Fash­ion is food for the soul, like mu­sic: if I lis­ten to Bruce Spring­steen or Queen I feel the em­brace of an old world. I am some­thing of a rock ’n’ roller, but I’d de­scribe my per­sonal style as con­ser­va­tive with glam­orous and clas­si­cal touches.

Be­ing by my­self for a lit­tle while dur­ing the day is im­por­tant – that ‘me-time’ to re­flect, lis­ten to mu­sic or just catch up on the news. It’s how I keep my fin­ger on the pulse of what’s hap­pen­ing, which in turn has car­ried my busi­ness and my brand. I’m driven. I’d like to go into an early re­tire­ment, but my per­son­al­ity won’t al­low it. In the next few years, I wish for my life, my fam­ily and my busi­ness to grow. I love beauty, art and travel. I en­cour­age women to travel be­cause it opens the mind to op­por­tu­ni­ties. I want women in South Africa to start pri­ori­tis­ing what’s im­por­tant: from mo­ments of per­sonal great­ness to fam­ily and mak­ing head­way in their ca­reers. Noth­ing comes with­out hard work, com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion. I do what’s nec­es­sary, and chal­lenge what’s im­pos­si­ble. My favourite quote of Nel­son Man­dela’s is: ‘It seems im­pos­si­ble un­til it’s done.’ Don’t stop dream­ing big, and as I learnt as a young woman from a farm near Queens­bor­ough: al­ways have flair.

Pic­tured Vanessa Gounden at home, with some of her favourite art and fash­ion pieces col­lected from South Africa and abroad.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.