The owner of London-based fashion-label Eki Orleans, Hazel was born in Germany, raised in Nigeria and educated in London, she describes her design aesthetic as being strongly influenced by this diverse mix of cultures. Attributing her inspiration to her African roots, Eki says she developed a love for the vivid and earthly colours of Africa growing up in the buzzing, chaotic and culturally diverse city of Lagos.
While still pursuing a career in finance, Eki says she decided to follow her vocation and natural aptitude for textile and fashion design. Combining both artistic skills she launched her first fashion collection with her own fabric designs in 2009.
Five years in the business of fashion and Eki is regarded as a veteran among the nascent breed of African fashion designers gaining international recognition.
In this interview with Ventures Africa the talented designer discusses the status, prospects and challenges of Africa’s fashion industry.
Ventures africa (VA): Do we have a ‘Fashion Industry’ in Africa?
Eki: There is a growing interest in African fashion and African designers and alongside that, an increased improvement in the designs that are coming out of the African continent. Countries like Nigeria and South Africa are the frontrunners in terms of putting together good quality fashion shows with a high calibre of designers and have to a certain extent been able to create their own fashion industry that works.