Meet Kasun Ekanayake; multi-award winning jewellery designer and the creative director of Kasun London. His bold designs have gained him a massive celebrity following; including Jordan Dunn, Naomie Harris, and FKA Twigs. We sit down with Kasun Ekanayake and discuss the search for creative freedom, the inspiration behind his work; and how jewellery design can be used to raise awareness.
Where does your interest in jewellery come from?
I have always been interested in art and design. However, it was my first job in the jewellery industry that really started my passion for the craft.
How did Kasun London come to be?
When I was in university, all I wanted was a well-paid design job. I was very lucky to get a good and highly creative job while I was still in my early 20s. After a while, you realise that when you design for someone else, that there as so many creative restrictions which stop you from fully expressing yourself. So I knew from very early on that if I wanted that full creative freedom, I had to create my own brand.
What is your design philosophy, can you tell us a little bit about your process?
I’ve come to realise that I thrive on designing jewellery, inspired by a surrealist mentality that is both abstract and thought provoking. I always try to tell a story through the jewellery I design.
Describe the ideal Kasun client?
Someone that is not afraid of the dark and unknown. An adventurer who lives in the present without worrying too much about the future or the past. Someone who is well-travelled, well-educated, open to diversity, and expresses himself/herself freely.
Where do you usually get inspiration for your collections?
As a designer, I am inspired by everything around me; be it art, music, film, architecture, travel, history, rare finds I find on my adventures, friends and family, and life in general! There is always a mix of creative and technical inspirations to draw from.
What is your favourite piece in your latest collection? In your own opinion, why does this piece stand out?
It will definitely be the “Blades of Octopi” ring. Its put together from 6 different castings, which makes it a highly technical ring. It represents passion and lust; and features the entwined legs of two octopi, sensually wrapping themselves around your finger.
We loved your recent collaboration with Manny Ezugwu, could you tell us a little bit about this collaboration?
As a celebrity stylist, Manny had been using my jewellery for a while, but I didn’t really know anything about him until he contacted me after LFW SS15. He asked me if I was interested in a collaboration with him. We discussed several ideas during our meeting, one of which was doing a collection to help raise awareness about cyber bullying; and that is how Sticks & Stones was born.
The collection was inspired by the old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” — and has been created to help bring awareness to the issues generated by the dark side of social media — trolling and cyber bullying. Far too often, people are crucified online and the bullies hide behind their keyboards with impunity; and it was the concept that inspired the aesthetic of the collection — nails, shards of broken wood, and the crucifix.
How do you think Kasun stands out from other jewellery brands
Almost all of our jewellery is unisex, including most of our earrings. They can be worn and enjoyed by men just as much as women; and I believe this gives us a different angle and sets us apart from a lot of other jewellery brands out there.
Anything exciting planned for 2017
There are a lot of exciting things to look forward to next year! Kasun has been selected to feature in Stephen Spielberg’s new film “Ready Player One” which will be released in 2018. It's set in the future, which works amazingly with our aesthetic. The Oscar winning costume designer, Kasia Maimone, is working on the project and we are very excited about collaborating with her.
Also, our jewellery will soon be available to purchase through Duty Free in various Airports very soon, which will open up a whole new threshold for Kasun.
Interview by Hannah Tan
Portraits by Chris Baker