Jenevieve Lyons On Her Pseudoscience Collection


Jenevieve Lyons depicts visual parables with her clothing. A recent finalist in the Renault New Talent Search, she spoke to us about the inspiration behind her latest collection.

What message, if any, were you trying to convey with this collection?

Linear A/W 2015; is the portrayal of the exchange between the expresser and the expression; it is an overall expression of the mind and thought processes of an idea.

Linear as a collection was constructed to portray the inner mind of the expresser as an idea led to a tangible expression.

The concept behind the collection:
The study of phrenology and pseudoscience served as inspiration for the collection, taking an old science applied in modern trend. Phrenology is a ‘science’ that focuses on the personality and character traits – ‘personas’ of the mind per individual – this is not an anatomical study of the brain, but rather a portrayal of different moral sentiments that the mind / brain is made up of specific phrenological modules: these are marked on the head in the form of linear displays of various sized segments, each segment lending itself to the intellectual and moral ideals per person. The diagram below was a inspiration for this idea.


The collection plays off these different segments; with the use of clever cut lines and structured transparency, with garments constructed out of heavy silk organdy and bound strongly with dark binding – as to reveal the structures of one’s mind. The thought process further played off as inspiration in the form of the different ‘levels’ a thought / idea travels through the mind – the garments are built piece by piece and not merely sewn in the seam lines as presumed, therefore the garments take a new journey to completion.

Linear communicates at an eye level both inwardly and outwardly as the garments lead the eye to depth. Pure wool and silk form the primary fabrics of the collection with the integration of digital printing and hard felt moulding.

Which was your favourite piece in the collection?
It is extremely difficult to pin point one piece as a favourite as all pieces follow the same intimate journey to completion, but based purely on overall execution and look on the runway, I’d have to select this look:

Who do you have in mind when you design your clothes?
When I design a runway collection; I start purely with a concept and inspiration in my mind with the notion to turn that mere idea into a tangible form. The runway collections are meant to make the onlooker feel emotion and appeal to the fashion conscious consumer with no hesitation for self expression and individualism.

The runway collections are further toned down and extracted into ready-to-wear extension collections that compound under the extension to the brand: MUTE by Jenevieve Lyons, whereby the garments are accessible in a wearable context with the use of high quality fabrics.

How long did it take you to complete the collection, from conceptualization to finished garment?
The conceptualization of a collection is an ever-evolving process from the actual conceptualization to the completed garments. Linear A/W 2015 overall took three months from the inception of the idea of pseudoscience: phrenology, to completion, with a two month process being the actual constructing of the collection.

Every garment seen in the collection was hand-sewn by me personally, from the pattern to the construction – it’s this process of turning an idea or concept into a tangible form that brought me to being a fashion designer today.

What has been the biggest challenge in the SA fashion industry?
The biggest challenge in the South African fashion industry thus far has been to build a brand with little means of expenditure; I have learnt to accept that the process of building a career path and finding success in one’s dreams is a cleverly planned; slow-paced process, demanding constant sacrifice; perseverance, determination and courage.

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