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Powerful Profile: Danielle Williams Eke

Powerful Profile: Danielle Williams Eke

by Melissa Magsaysay

The Design Director of 11 Honoré Talks about the Power of Family, Travel and Style

Danielle Williams Eke is intently pinning fabric swatches ranging in color from a cool mirage blue and smoky cinder grey to a creamy gardenia white, to her mood board. Along with the swatches sits a range of serene landscapes and far flung destinations that instantly transports even a casual passerby to the locations Eke has in mind - a tranquil world of sleek lines and calming tones she has created to inform her first installment of The 11 Honoré Collection, which launches June 22nd.

Sign Of The Times
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“Travel has been a huge inspiration to me as a designer,” says Eke, who is originally from the Washington D.C area. “From Seoul, Korea to Paris, France to Accra, Ghana, I love seeing style within different cities and cultures and I love applying that to my design process. I also get creative inspiration from interior design and architecture. I love the textures and colors in interior design and they often influence my color, print and fabric palettes.”

“I love seeing style within different cities and cultures and I love applying that to my design process.”

She has been honing her creative process since high school when she participated in her first fashion show and instantly fell in love with the idea of becoming a designer. She spent the summer before her senior year immersed in a fashion program at the Parsons School of Design in New York and solidified her goal of someday becoming a notable name in the industry.

Along with her formal training and love of travel, style has always been a part of the fabric of Eke’s close knit family, as evidenced and passed on by her maternal grandmother, Susie Moody. The designer shares this passion with her sisters, Tracey Williams and Nicole Sanders of whom Eke attests “have really great style.”

The Getaway: Sun Seeker Style
Left: Danielle Williams Eke's Maternal Grandmother, Susie Moody. Right: Danielle Williams Eke with her sisters, Tracey Williams and Nicole Sanders.

Together with her sisters, Eke has created a website called, The Travel Tailor, which documents their journeys around the globe and offers a service to curate travel itineraries from the best lodging, dining, and cultural happenings for any given destination. Similar to celebrating a strong lineage of style, travel is a passion within Eke’s family and a way to honor a legacy.

“Traveling is a family tradition passed down from our great-grandmother who traveled; even at a time when people that looked like us were not welcomed in parts of the U.S.,” states the Travel Tailor website. “In raising us, our parents continued this tradition and always made sure we knew that we belonged. From car trips traveling north to south, plane rides cross-country, and cruises around the world, we were blessed to develop a curiosity to explore various cities, states, countries, and cultures at a young age.”

Eke’s work on The 11 Honoré Collection encompasses her strong ties to a global aesthetic and the ease of the chic attire that goes along seamlessly with being a strong, confident and curious person throughout the world.

Here, Eke elaborates on her focus for the Collection and shares more about her personal style, creative inspiration and where she’s planning to travel to next.

Q & A with Danielle Williams Eke

Who are your style icons?

My #1 style icon is Tracee Ellis Ross. I feel like her style is such a great reflection of who she is, strong, vibrant & confident.

What are your hobbies outside of fashion?

I like to find different creative outlets. From painting to drawing to ceramics. I have always loved all facets of fine arts.
I also love to travel and plan travel especially with my family. Any time my whole family can get together everything feels right in the world!

Where do you get creative inspiration?

Travel has been a huge inspiration as a designer. From Seoul, Korea to Paris, France to Accra, Ghana, I love seeing style within different cities and cultures and I love applying that to my design process.
I also get creative inspiration from interior design and architecture. I love the textures and colors in interior design and they often influence my color, print and fabric palettes.

Has travel always been a passion? Where is your favorite place to visit and why?

Travel has always been a passion. My parents made travel an important part of our childhood and it’s something my sisters and I continue to this day.
I would say my favorite place to visit is Paris, France. It’s such a beautiful city. From the architecture to the food when I’m in Paris I feel like I’m in a movie.

Where are your top 3 places you would love to visit next?

Johannesburg, South Africa
Rome & Milan, Italy
Bali, Indonesia

What are some of your favorite places to visit in LA?

I absolutely love driving down the coast to Orange County. I fell in love with California because of how scenic it is. Driving up and down the coast offers the most amazing views I also love Palm Springs. From the Mid-Century architecture to the bold colors of the quaint city, it's full of inspiration.

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is laidback and easy. I love mixing femme pieces with streetwear styling. I tend to keep it simple focusing on neutrals with fun pops from time to time.

You grew up with sisters, was fashion a big part of your life as teens?

Fashion was a big part of our life, which mostly consisted of me stealing my older sisters clothes!
Our love of fashion really developed from my Grandmother's love of fashion. We would go shopping together a lot.
We would often take trips from Washington, DC to New York City and spend the weekend shopping and going to Broadway shows.

Do you give each other style advice?

Yes! All the time. If any of us have a special event or trips coming up we all help each other out with our looks. My sisters have great style!

Which designers did you look up to growing up or while in design school and why?

One of my favorites in school was Proenza Schouler. They were somewhat new on the fashion scene and they really brought a fresh perspective to the industry. Their use of color, print and pattern and impeccable tailoring was really inspiring to me.

Who are your favorite designers today and why?

I really love The Row. They have mastered the art of elevated simplicity and I love the way they thoughtfully combine femme and grunge aesthetics.
I also really love this new wave of black designers including Cushnie, Fe Noel and Fenty. I think they are bringing a unique perspective to the industry and they all know how to dress a woman’s body.

What is the first step when conceptualizing a new collection?

My first step is often a mood board complete with color and fabric palettes. This sets the tone for the assortment. Next my approach is a little more strategic in terms of working with a merchant to build a line architecture to make sure we are building a balanced assortment.

Talk about the inspiration for this first drop.

For this first drop, and really for The 11 Honoré Collection in general, I wanted to build a collection of must-haves and go-to’s. Aesthetically I wanted the collection to easily transition into our customers’ existing wardrobe, so we chose a color and fabric palette that felt fresh but is extremely versatile.

Which pieces are you most excited about in this or any of the upcoming drops and why?

I really love the stretch linen pieces. These items truly don’t exist in the retail landscape and I’m excited for our customer to experience them. I also love all of the knits. They are so relevant to our current lifestyle with working from home and staying local for the foreseeable future. I am really in love with this whole collection and how easily all of these pieces can be styled together.

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