EKI — Africa on Silk — Fashion Design Inspired by Africa

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Runway show of the EKI collection SS19, Photo credits: Kola Oshalusi

I would like to introduce you to the fashion brand EKI (formerly named EKI ORLEANS) by designer Hazel Eki Osunde. The founder and creator of the label was born in Germany, grew up in Nigeria’s megacity Lagos and has been based in London for many years now.

Though generally inspired by nature, culture and travel, her major creative input stems from her African cultural heritage. Her designs feature a multitude of diverse patterns and ornaments with a colour palette ranging from earthy brown and orange tones to bright yellow, blue and green. I am completely in awe of how EKI incorporates a perfect balance between elegance, sophistication and casualness. The collections have a clear focus on fashion for the female body, wanting to highlight the “inner goddess” of women. Nevertheless, the most recent spring/summer collection SS20 is the first to also feature men’s wear.

The designer’s creative ideas derive from her experiences as part of her heritage and from her travels, where she encounters various musical styles, natural phenomena and cultural indigenous ornaments. This inspiration manifests in her prints and designs as colour and pattern derivations from butterfly species, forms from coral reefs or tribal ornaments.

As each collection from 2012 until today embodies its own unique colour range and print decor, the common element is the focus on high quality fabrics of silk and chiffon. EKI’s designs encompass dresses and skirts that are figure hugging, as well as loose, light kaftans and dresses that flow easily around the body’s silhouette.

For the spring/summer collection SS19, which is called EBEN, the designer drew inspiration from her Nigerian Edo culture. The ornament of the prints is based on a traditional Edo symbol, the Edo sword named Eben, which also serves as title for the collection. The powerful symbol created in a bright coral and light blue tone is embedded on fine cream coloured silk. It is surrounded by filigree lines and ornaments matching the cultural origin. A touch of golden elements ensures an additional elegant note. The collection beautifully combines opaque trousers and skirts with translucent tops and kaftans. Though made of luxurious and delicate materials, the pieces have a casual summer vibe. For the runway show the designer combined the clothes with coral beads and pearls as necklaces and belts and provided the models with cream coloured hair ties.

The latest spring/summer collection SS20 is named NOSTALGIC, as Hazel Eki Osunde is reminiscent of her cultural African roots for inspiration. A traditional African instrument, the calabash, which is created from a dried fruit, serves as a powerful ornament evoking sensuality.

The fabrics are designed in dense overall patterns brimming with vibrant colours of blue, green, turquoise, purple, gold and fuchsia. The collection mainly consists of light and flowing loose dresses and kaftans. Some designs are completely kept in white, except for highlighted trims around the neckline and hem. The men’s white bubas have bordures around the sleeves and are paired with plain white trousers. The women’s swimwear is sexy and playful at the same time, adorned with bows and ruffles.

EKI is very keen on keeping the brand sustainable, using digital printing as it consumes less water and ink as well as using only recycled paper for packaging.

Thank you Hazel Eki Osunde @ekisilk for allowing me to present these gorgeous collections.

For more information about the fashion label check out their website: https://ekisilk.com/

Photo credits: Kola Oshalusi and @Bellanaija / Courtesy of EKI

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Lagos Fashion Week runway show of the EKI collection SS20, Photo credits: @Bellanaija

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