GESSICA COLLECTIVE is led by fashion designer Shenali Gunaratne, a recent Bachelor of Design graduate from Whitehouse Institute of Design Australia. During her studies, she’s been working on perfecting her fashion label. Since then, the label perfectly blends streetwear with social movements that matter.
For her latest collection, “The Art of War”, as well showcased during Paris Fashion Week, the main source of inspiration was the Paris terror attacks in 2015 and the tragedies in the world around us. Something that stood out during the entire horrific event, was the mass of ordinary people who stood up and did extraordinary things, in the light of a serious tragedy.
Gunaratne says: “Although the days of conscription are dead and gone, just being alive in this time, you need to be prepared for a war everyday. My menswear collection propels the idea of the Everyday Soldier, with the use of military inspired details and the implementation of them through modern streetwear. Throughout the collection I have used fabrics that you would find in uniforms, ranging from wool to cotton drill and tonal colors for each body.”
While this sounds quite heavy, the underlying message is about hope. “The message I would like my collection to spread would be that, as people go on with their lives, through all the struggles that they face, there is hope. We may be ordinary people but we can achieve the extraordinary.”
#33TALKS | EMPOWERMENT with SHENALI GUNARATNE, founder of GESSICA COLLECTIVE
33: Does your brand position itself as a STREETWEAR brand?
Yes, Gessica Collective is definitely a streetwear brand.
33: What do you think of fast fashion?
Fast fashion has definitely changed the industry, I wouldn’t say in a good way. Fashion is a story with clothes and I feel like the narrative gets lost with fast fashion, it’s too much too fast.
33: What do you think is the biggest challenge for a fashion designer?
I would say it’s staying true to yourself, I often find that designers sell out to be on trend rather than create designs they truly believe in and create their own trends.
33: How do you want to achieve the long-lasting concept for your brand? How do you determine what is durable design?
I use sustainable products and create timeless pieces, meaning they are versatile and the consumer can continue to find use for my collection years after production. I believe durable designs are ones that can withstand time, weather and wear.
33: What happens to that part of a collection that does not get sold?
It should be recycled and renewed. Styles can be edited and designs can be altered so that it can be released again as a whole new piece, rather than add to pollution.
33: How far do you go in terms of sustainability? Where could you serve as a role model for others?
I really aim to keep my environmental footprint very small, from the very beginning to the very end. From triple checking pattern making to ensure no wastage, to only producing small amounts of pieces to ensure only what is needed is produced. I hope to be a role model in the way of my attention to detail, I hope other brands can just take these small but important steps to ensure they keep their environmental footprint small as well.