By Jessica Payne

Sometimes you run into a fashion label where every piece screams your name! I had that experience when I discovered Jenevieve Lyons’ self named label. Every piece has a delicate beauty that appeals to my “girly” side while maintaining a starkness that truly defines ambiguity. Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Jenevieve about her new line, SS16, and what we can expect in the future from her.

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What sparked your interest in fashion?

Since a young age I fell in love with collecting ‘unbeautiful’ and strange things; which then developed into a process of sketching these objects / ideas in different ways. I became interested in following a career in fashion as I saw it as a way to take my sketches to an actual tangible state and give them a functional purpose. I then decided to complete a BA (Honours) in fashion to learn the skill – and the love for the stranger things in life has never left me, which I now translate into fashion.

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What made you decide to make fashion your career?

In order to showcase South African fashion in an undisputed and cliché manner in order to grow the industry; bring awareness to social issues and the beauties that fulfil our country, evidently telling visual parables through apparel.

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How has your work evolved since you started your own label?

Evolved in maturity; responsibility and evolved passion.

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Are there any types of clothes you won’t wear?

Glitzy sequins and body con dresses.

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What is the biggest lesson you have learned since starting your own company?

Patience and resilience.

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What has been the defining moment in your career?

It is an ever evolving moment – a moment of resilience and perseverance to retain my relevance and stance within the industry.

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How is this line different from your previous work?

It is an all white tonal collection; and concludes with intricately designed womenswear coats and outerwear.

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What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?

Follow your passion; believe in those spurts of round-the-bend-ideas and follow them through, what we are doing is not normal and the social order will think you are ‘nutty’ but it is those very people you prove wrong along the way. No great achievement happens overnight – be prepared to work hard for a long time.

What would you like to accomplish in the next year?

Growth on a personal level as well as a brand; showcasing South African characteristics within a beautiful stance, and to keep on the steady path of relevance and resilience.

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Do you have any rules or superstitions you live by?

Faith as number one; and that one has to be willing to sacrifice quite a lot – ‘normality is achieved through living the normal, extraordinary can only be achieved by the willingness of sacrifice.’

What’s your motto?

 “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.”

Charles Addams.

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What can we expect in the future from you and the SS16 collection?

The continuation of telling visual parables through intricate aesthetically devised apparel. Autumn/Winter 2016 is built on a concept of ambiguity and anonymity, the main focus being on the beauty in what was once viewed as ‘ugly’. This led into the study and deeper look into albinism and the beauty it carries forth in the form of fragility, marked with the beauty of individuality. The research phase has brought along a beautiful film called Moshanyana, which revealed a beautifully depicted albino boy with a freckled face. This in turn evoked the further exploration into the beauty ‘slur’ mark – freckles. The aim is to showcase garments that represent debility; yet while bringing form to function, portraying a travelled journey symbolising the constant travel of a person (albino) carrying ‘the other’; constantly searching for their placement within society. AW16 as a collection plays with muted tones ‘impressioned’ with personal markings inspired by freckles on a milked face; opaque silks over meltons, layered three dimensionally, fooling the eye to what is and what is not. It is a play on the obscurity and juxtaposition of beauty.

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 Follow Jenevieve on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

photographer: Steve Marais

stylist: Jéandre Venter

hair/makeup: Amber Recha Caplan

models: Eranne and Kayrin at @ Fan Jam

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