APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs.
Funmilayo Csilla Deri: The Funlayo Deri label – a luxury women’s wear label for the confident, captivating, stylish woman – was established in March 2011. The label signature is the celebration of the female form, emphasizing a woman’s curves while utilizing the most lavish fabrics and the finest cuts and detailing.
APiF: How does your heritage inspire/influence your designs?
Funmilayo: My design aesthetic is influenced by my heritage as this shapes my perspective. It all translates in the designs, be it in the way a garment drapes, the colors used, the richness in texture of the fabrics or the silhouettes.
APiF: How do u feel about the current trend regarding all things “African”?
Funmilayo: I think Africa has always been an inspiration to the world when it comes to fashion, art, music and more. For me all things “African” are not just a trend. It is fantastic that there is greater awareness of African fashion but I think it is important for people to recognize that all things “African” are not just a passing trend, but a lasting force.
APiF: Fashion Finds: What is your favorite piece in your closet or of your collection and why?
Funmilayo: It is very difficult to pick just one piece from my collections. I love them all! One of the key pieces from the Spring/Summer 2012 collection, however, is this lace halter dress. The style is simple, but the fabric used gives it an unconventional edge. It’s a heat pressed lace which feels amazing to touch and wear. This fabric was used in a few other pieces through the collection – for lace pants and as a detail on the maxi cut-out dress.
APiF: How do you market your designs and how do you make them accessible to a global audience?
Funmilayo: My designs are mainly marketed through online sources. We will be launching an online store soon and clients worldwide will be able to purchase Funlayo Deri pieces here.
APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Funmilayo: To anyone looking to start their own fashion label, I say first of all you must have talent, be creative and be really passionate about fashion. Having these will keep your drive up when challenges present themselves. It is important to intern with designers who are newly established. This way you see what they go through and it prepares you for what you will need to do when setting up your own label. The fashion industry is not all glamor, contrary to what many believe. It requires a lot of work, commitment and investment – financial and time wise. Besides being creative, you must have business acumen. If you don’t have this, find someone you can partner with who does.
APiF: What are your fashion plans for 2012?
Funmilayo: To make the label accessible to clients worldwide – through the online store and a collaboration with an US-based online retailer which we are currently working on.