Hot 100 2013: Kasun Ekanayake

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From a New Zealand cricketer to creating his own jewellery brand.

Kasun Ekanayake leads a very impressive double life. For part of the week he is the head jewellery designer for Hot Diamonds and for the rest of his time he is the creative director of the feted fledgling label Kasun London.

Quite how he does it is hard to say, but he is not alone – scour the world of jewellery and you will find a few people making their own designer brands happen alongside part- or full-time jobs.

But for a new brand, Kasun London comes with particular pedigree. Over the past five years Kasun Ekanayake has worked as head designer for Azendi before moving on to the Hot Diamonds Group, making it a pretty fair bet to say he knows a thing or two about creating wearable beauty. Among other work, he developed Hot Diamonds’ Emozioni interchangeable coin concept.

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His Kasun label has rocketed into the spotlight and the brand has been shortlisted for the UK Jewellery Awards’ New Designer of the Year and even scooped the coveted Lonmin Design Innovations award.

He’s pretty clear on the brand’s USP. “I think our brand is very strong in design. We always try to offer subtle, refined, beautifully crafted designs that show off personalities without going over the top.”

A great example of this is the Endless Beginnings collection, inspired by a friend’s divorce and their desire for a new piece to represent a fresh start and replace the wedding band.

With his second collection, called God Loves Fangs, Kasun has made his first foray into men’s jewellery. He says: “We feel that was well timed and is helping us to reach an entirely new customer base, which is always exciting.”

Looking to the future, Kasun says: “We have so many plans. We will be exhibiting for the first time at IJL this year, which we have high hopes for. We will continue to develop our presence in the UK and grow the number of stockists we have. We will also focus on our own website, developing it from a design and usability point of view as well as driving it as a sales channel.”

We’re actually lucky to have him in the industry, not least because he used to be good at cricket. Really good. He played at all ranks within New Zealand until he was 15 years old, when a life of design took over and diverted him from a sporting path onto a designing one that saw him relocate to the UK at the age of 22. Here his career hit fast forward with the Azendi and Hot Diamonds jobs but he says his biggest frustration so far has been the difficulty new brands like his have getting in front of the big stores and retailers and garnering media exposure. Perhaps this page will help?

Kasun Ekanayake was selected as a NexGem in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read the digital edition of the book online, click here.
 

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