Elegant designs with pops of colours. Meet Hazel Orleans the designer behind the London based brand Eki Orleans. Find out who inspires her, how she chose the name of her brand and advice on what it takes to have staying power in the fashion industry.
What do you love most about being a designer
The best thing about being a designer is receiving client feedback on how their Eki garments made them feel.
Being a fashion designer also allows you to use your platform to create awareness on a particular cause that is dear to you.
How did you choose the name Eki Orleans
Eki is a Benin name (from Nigeria) and my dad always told me that it meant ‘Centre of Attraction’. Orleans is part of my surname. The concept of calling the brand Eki Orleans is that when you wear an Eki piece, you become the centre of attraction.
Who is your favourite designer
Can I choose two? I love Elli Saab for his romantic fairytale style and Mary Katrantzou for her incredible 3 dimensional prints.
What is your favourite quote about fashion
‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’ By Vivienne Westwood
What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to become a designer today
Take time to work on your USP and be very clear what differentiates you from the rest.
Create a story and let it speak through your designs
Be consistent. Do not jump on the bandwagon of the latest new trend. Be true to your aesthetics
Make sure you have enough financial backing for a good few seasons because people do not buy into your brand immediately. They want to see consistency and longevity.
Are there any fashion apps you can’t live without
If Instagram is considered a fashion app, I would say IG.
What did you study at university and how does that play a part in your work
I studied European Studies and Spanish. I do not come from a fashion background but having worked in the corporate world for over 10 years, I do bring that past into the structure of my fashion business. In addition, as I was never taught those strict fashion guidelines, I feel I come with an open canvas and just play around with what works well visually in my head.
What have been some of your favourite looks from the past.
This was the dress Thandie Newton wore and it is my personal favourite because it literally embodies the Eki concept of clash of prints and fun.
My current favourite is this playsuit because you literally just step into it and go. No zips, no buttons, nothing.
It is very sexy with the plunging neckline yet it does not cross the line of being vulgar.
What is the one tech item you can’t live without
Ha! Ask anyone in my household and they will say my phone.
What is the one handbag you can’t live without
To be honest I am not big on handbags and I do not buy into a certain brand. I am however all about craftsmanship and so I look out for that. For me, the most important element is the colour. It has to be bright, loud and jump out to get me even the slightest bit excited.
What are the one pair of shoes you can’t live without
I love my shoes and I have my favourite brands but in the summer I live in my Havanas. It is quite sad – my friends have picked up on that and said I need to set more of an example but I am so drawn to my bright coloured havana slippers!
What bargain do you wish you had snagged on U-Wantit.com
I am very much a Mac girl and getting the Apple Mac Book Pro at the discounted price would been very appealing to me.
Find out more about Eki Orleans here and you can follow them on instagram @ekiorleans