This German-Nigerian Designer Is Telling Positive African Stories Through Her Fashion Brand

Hazel Eki Osunde is a German-Nigerian fashion designer living 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 tell positive African stories. She believes that fashion can have a significant impact. Fashion “can illuminate a room while also providing a platform for change.” It is powerful, and it can be used to educate consumers about the importance of certain issues,” she told Business Africa Online.

Despite her strong passion for design, her career path began in a bank. She worked in the banking hall for a decade until she became pregnant and “found a new meaning to life.” During this time, she persuaded herself to pursue her passion and build an empire out of it.

Before that, a friend passionately discussed her media career with her, and she realized she wasn’t putting much love into the work she was doing. “As a result, I embarked on a journey of discovery.” It soon became clear to me that I had a passion for textiles, designs, and a longing for Africa. “And that’s how it began,” she explained.

 

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Osunde’s designs have a strong African influence and are printed on silk for a more international appeal. Her clothes are also flowy and can be worn casually or dressed up.

Osunde, who was born in a rural town in Germany but raised in Nigeria, said her designs are inspired by Africa, adding that she always draws inspiration from nature, culture, or travel and tells the story from an African perspective.

According to her, the interpretation of her prints contributes to the uniqueness of her brand.

“I don’t make prints for everyone, and I don’t follow trends.” I choose shades and colors that appeal to me and that I know my customers will like. Our dresses’ designs are quite simple and classic, allowing for commercial appeal. “I believe the bold EKI prints are balanced out with the styles we select,” said the German-Nigerian designer, who recently presented her latest collection in Lagos, Nigeria.

Osunde incorporates sustainability into her brand because she values nature. “We do all of our printing digitally because it uses less water and ink.” Even though litho printing is less expensive, it was a deliberate business decision to go with digital. “The long-term effects on the planet cost us more,” she explained.

Her advice to young designers just starting is to keep it creative, small, and not overstretch themselves financially until they have built a clientele base that not only likes and follows their pieces but also purchases them.

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