DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Luxury Boutique headlines with South Africa's Vanessa Gounden.

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: AFWL2019 Luxury Boutique headlines with South Africa's Vanessa Gounden.

Vanessa Gounden is a luxury womenswear brand, with Vanessa herself as Creative Director and the inspiration behind the brand’s artistry. 

Vanessa combines original artworks and photography to create highly individual and contemporary prints. Her work is easily distinguished by its meticulous attention to detail and luxurious fabrics. Also signature to the brand and present in every collection is the Vanessa Trench (seen here), a coat dress cut with strong classic feminine silhouette.

The Durban-born designer is also renowned for being one of South Africa’s most successful mining magnates – for her business savvy and for the role she played in South Africa’s political landscape.  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 showcased at several London and 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 graced her designs.

In 2015, she opened her flagship store in the heart of London’s Mayfair district where she still operates today.

Vanessa at the opening of the Mayfair store on Conduit Street.

Vanessa’s signature style combines bold prints and patterns with innovative tailoring techniques, such as 3D layering. Her work is handcrafted in the finest luxurious fabrics and embellished with hand painted buttons, beading and embroidery.   

Vanessa designs her work for intelligent, glamorous, spirited women where classic styles endure over trends.  Each collection centres around a concept that is close to Vanessa’s heart, the narrative beautifully created on garments with such attention to detail, each piece retains its sense of bespoke individuality.

Vanessa's Africa Rising collection is an "artistic dedication to the rise of African society from being previously oppressed during colonial occupation to its prosperous rise in the global market".

With a strong sense of citizenship and responsibility, Vanessa is committed to uncover and sponsor new artists as well as train and employ craftsman, tailors and seamstresses in fine skills and pattern matching.

Artistry and techniques already used in Vanessa Gounden creations have revived bygone textile skills and provided employment to local artisans not only in her South African based Atelier but in various parts of the world where unique talent is discovered and nurtured.

"Ours is not ordinary fashion, our garments are works of art. Seeing our work in Paris and at other fashion weeks like New York and London has given many of us a confidence boost. I feel good about myself knowing I made a contribution."

Experience the best in African fashion and visit Vanessa Gounden's exclusive boutique on the Luxury floor.  See her catwalk show on Saturday Celebrity Catwalk Showcase.


The largest annual African fashion event in Europe, Africa Fashion Week London, is back for Season 9! 

Again at the prestigious Freemasons’ Hall for two full days of catwalk shows and exhibition shopping floors in the beautiful Grand Temple venue space, AFWL hosts over 100 designers who fly in from different parts of the globe every August to showcase the best of African fashion in London.   

For the lovers of high end fashion, the introduction of the Luxury Boutique will showcase luxury clothing and accessories from the culturally diverse Continent to the European market.  Don't miss the chance to also browse for our African Market Soukfor exclusive afro-centric designs; or sample cuisines in our African  Food Village. 

The AFWL Business Fashion Forum, powered by our Commercial Partner  EPG Media, is a new development for 2019.   Talk and panel sessions from leading manufacturers, retailers and government officials from all areas relating to fashion. This element offers guidance, advice and valuable industry insight to aspiring designers and creatives.  Special guest speakers will include The Mayor of London’s Office, Department of Trade UK and the V&A Museum.

With a number of brands travelling in from overseas to debut collections, those in attendance are guaranteed to purchase a number of red-carpet worthy items or unique one-off pieces that will adorn any summer wardrobe.


Save the Date

9-10 August 2019 Freemasons' Hall 60 Great Queen Street London WC2B 5AZ

Doors open from 12pm both days for shopping, browsing and Seminar talks

Friday Catwalk Shows: 4pm & 6pm* Saturday Catwalk Shows: 2pm, 5pm & 7.30pm*

*These times are subject to change.

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