German-Nigerian fashion designer Hazel Eki Osunde currently resides in the United Kingdom. She is the founder and creative director of EKI, a luxury silk print fashion brand inspired by Africa.
Osunde creates prints that depict uplifting African tales. She believes fashion can have a significant impact. Fashion “can illuminate a room and catalyze change. It is potent and can be utilized to educate consumers about the significance of issues, she told Business Africa Online.
Despite her passion for design, she began her career in the banking industry. She worked in the banking hall for a decade until she became pregnant and “found a new purpose in life.” During this time, she persuaded herself to pursue her passion and build an empire from it.
Before that, a friend had passionately discussed her career in the media, and she realized she hadn’t put much passion into her work. “Therefore, I embarked on a voyage of discovery. I quickly realized that I had a passion for textiles, designs, and Africa. “And thus it began,” she stated.
African influence is evident in Osunde’s designs, which are printed on silk to give them an international appeal. In addition, her clothes are flowy and can be worn casually or formally.
Osunde, who was born in a rural German town but raised in Nigeria, stated that the inspiration for her designs comes from Africa and that she always draws from nature, culture, or travel and tells the story from an African perspective.
She stated that the uniqueness of her brand stems from the interpretation of her prints.
“I neither design prints for everyone nor follow trends. I choose hues and colors that I am drawn to and that I know will appeal to my customers. Our dresses’ designs are quite simple and traditional, allowing for commercial appeal. Recently, the German-Nigerian designer presented her newest collection in Lagos, Nigeria.
As someone who values the environment, Osunde integrates sustainability into her brand. “We conduct all of our printing digitally because it uses less water and ink. It was a deliberate business decision to choose digital printing over litho printing, despite the latter being less expensive. The long-term effects on the planet are more costly for us,” she said.
Her advice to young designers just starting is to keep it creative, and small, and not to overextend themselves financially until they have established a clientele that not only likes and follows their designs but also purchases them.