African fashion designers are the next best thing in high fashion, with all the more African designers joining Duro Olowu and Maki Oh – among others – to take on the global fashion stage. This is the case for Nigerian-born Funmilayo Csilla Deri, London/Budapest-based fashion designer and proud owner of the label Funlayo Déri, who is quietly establishing a global presence for her brand, developing a reputation of offering clothes synonymous with quality and craftsmanship.
Growing up in Africa and spending various periods of her life in several parts of the world, Deri was exposed to different cultures which helped her form a diverse background, and strongly influenced her design aesthetic. After earning a degree in International Business and working as a manager at a private bank in Switzerland, she decided to take a leap of faith and make a career out of her life-long passion – fashion design. She went on to study at the renowned Istituto Marangoni with the objective of setting up a label upon graduation. And so she did; in March 2011, Funlayo Deri was launched.
Translated from Yoruba, funlayo means “give me joy,” a purpose underpinning the designer’s collections and put in the heart of the brand; making clothes modern women will appreciate, love, and feel good in, “clothes that will make them happy and give them the confidence to shine,” as she put it herself. In this sense, the collections are extremely versatile and wearable, celebrating the female body and emphasizing curves.
For Deri, however glamorous and elegant clothes may be, they are first and foremost meant to have fun with and not to be taken seriously, hence her clothing is unconventionally chic frequently adorned with quirky-yet-high-quality details. Each piece is finely cut and painstakingly crafted using a limited quantity of premium fabrics (delicate lace, fine silk and taffeta). Structured, asymmetric and fitted dresses and separates, and girly jumpsuits come in a variety of rich colors, textures and silhouettes – short, long, midi, flowy, A-line – putting together a collection of investment-worthy, timeless pieces women can always rely on.