If you’re not familiar with Clarissa, the gal behind vintagedollrisa.com – and now GDS brand -, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. The 22 year old Creative Director consistently wows us with her unique style, incredible work ethic and perpetual grind.
“We have to LEAD by example and stop handing over the power to big industries such as the fashion industry and many others.”
GDS stands for Girls Do Succeed or and Grind Don’t Stop. It can also be read as ‘Goddess’ so it’s easy to see the ethos of the brand. Championing a super cute, super sporty aesthetic, GDS comes as a well overdue answer to the world’s demand for a women’s focused ‘streetwear label’.
We spoke to Clarissa about the story behind the brand. Read all about it below.
What is GDS?
GDS is a sportswear, fashion and lifestyle brand and multimedia platform for young women. It celebrates wavy, sporty girls. Its made up of a photography zine/book, a documentary series, editorial and clothing line.
Tell me the story about how this came about, did you work on this by yourself?
I’ve had the idea for over a year. At first i just wanted to design my own clothes but over the year it developed into something much deeper in meaning. It became something more than a brand because of my frustration towards brands not having a good genuine message behind them, not showing REAL relatable girls and not providing pieces for the girls that preferred kicks and tracksuits over bodycon dresses. I worked on it myself up until it came to shooting, filming and casting and then took onboard my amazing talented friends to help with visuals.
“It’s okay to be laid back and still feminine and bold.”
What inspired the movement?
I was inspired by a lot of things. Mostly by my desire to be my own boss. I knew I had a following of girls who were just like me and must of felt my frustration towards other brands so I thought ‘why not create something myself for them?’.
In terms of the branding itself, Ive always loved the sports aesthetic and my first development and branding references were from the Olympics in the 60s and 70s, to the all African American female basketball teams in the 70s. It was all so uniform, cool and empowering. The uniforms and structure of the sports really gave me a strong sense of female community: I wanted to recreate this and give it a modern twist. Also doing my research and finding little to no platforms solely for young female athletes that had an interest in sportswear and fashion [inspired me].
“We are so diverse and beautiful and as a generation we get so caught up in beauty ideals at such young ages. I wanted to step away from this and keep it raw and real. Down to scars, weight and skin.”
Where you trying to take it?
What can we expect from you and GDS in the next few years?
Wherever the brand takes me I will follow. I’m trying not to be so strict with it as I know so many great things are going to come from starting GDSBRAND. However, I plan on creating amazing pieces for the more daring girls, the tomboyish, sporty girls, showing that it’s okay to be laid back and still feminine and bold. I want to continue the series and create a number of small documentaries like the first Fem-Sport series which is already out. And of course grow the community of #GDSGIRLS and possibly curate an event.
Talk to me about the models you worked with for the
lookbook…Do you think diversity is still an issue in the fashion industry?
Although I only had 3 models, I tried my best to show the different features, skin tones and body shapes. We are so diverse and beautiful and as a generation we get so caught up in beauty ideals at such young ages. I wanted to step away from this and keep it raw and real. Down to scars, weight and skin.
Yes I do think as a society we still struggle with diversity, however we are opening our eyes and taking action by creating our own images of diversity in our communities which is something I set out to do. By doing this, we will see change because the change must come from us. We have to LEAD by example and stop handing over the power to big industries such as the fashion industry and many others.
How important is celebrating the idea that women CAN do everything?
It is SO important. Although we have come a long way from the women liberation movement, I feel we still struggle with issues such as sexism, domestic violence and so on.
I created GIRLS DO SUCCEED as the mantra to spread a message to young girls that whatever they put their mind to they can achieve, regardless of what they are told or taught.