Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 May 2020

South African couple's comedic take on fashion campaigns and Covid safety measures goes viral

'The best feedback we’ve gotten is that it’s made people happy,' says comedian Donovan Goliath

Pairing his wit with his lockdown wardrobe, a stand-up comedian from South Africa is making people laugh using a new medium.

Donovan Goliath and his partner Davina Gordon have created a series of photographs that parody traditional fashion campaigns, by pairing them with coronavirus-related slogans.

The Gap logo is given a new nuance when the words “1.5 meters” are placed underneath it, and Goliath and Gordon are seen standing at opposite ends of the frame; an ad for a mock Chanel fragrance, “No 19 Sanitise”, sees the duo holding up a bottle of hand sanitiser; the Levi's logo becomes “Can’t leave”; and the famed YSL of the Yves Saint Laurent logo now stands for “Yeast Stocks Limited”.

Goliath, who worked as an art director at an advertising agency for seven years before embarking on his current career, and Gordon, a classical violinist and teacher who has played for orchestras in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, had been collaborating on a few lockdown projects before this series came about.

“We figured we’d do something around what people are wearing during lockdown. The very first poster was the Coco Chanel/Covid one where we’re in our sweatpants, gowns and mismatched socks. It got such a great response that we wanted to see how far we could push it and we’re now sitting on 12 pieces,” explains Goliath, who is based in Johannesburg.

The couple's first shot sees them in sweatpants, dressing gowns and mismatched socks – with the Chanel logo now signifying Covid. Courtesy Donovan Goliath
The couple's first shot sees them parodying a Chanel ad in sweatpants, dressing gowns and mismatched socks. Courtesy Donovan Goliath

The images have certainly struck a chord. They’ve been retweeted and shared thousands of times on social media, and the pair have done television interviews and been featured in magazines and blogs.

People also love that we’re creating awareness around Covid-19 and safety practises in a cool, unexpected way

“The best feedback we’ve gotten is that it’s made people happy and made them forget about the pandemic, even just for a few seconds,” says Goliath. “People also love that we’re creating awareness around Covid-19 and safety practises in a cool, unexpected way.”

The process itself is pretty basic, he explains. “They’re all shot on an iPhone on a 10 second timer against the same wall. We place the phone on Davina’s music stand because the height is adjustable. Once we’re happy, I airdrop the chosen pic to my MacBook and start cleaning up and editing in Photoshop. The entire process takes maximum 30 minutes.”

Thankfully, there are more pictures in the pipeline and the duo are hoping to monetise them, so they can give the proceeds to a relief fund.

Updated: May 12, 2020 01:26 PM

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