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Friday, May 25, 2012

DanceAfrica Vendor Spotlight: WOW WOW by Wunmi

Wunmi wearing her clothing line WOW WOW
The DanceAfricaBazaar features many vendors from all over the world. One of our favorite vendors is Wunmi (aka Ibiwunmi Omotayo Olufunke Felicity Olaiya), a fashion designer who is also one of the most well-known Afrobeat singers today. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for us from the road, even while she was on tour. Look for her booth this Memorial Day weekend at BAM!

1. How many years have you been a vendor at DanceAfrica?

My first time vending at DanceAfrica was in 2006. I shared a booth with another vendor, so it is now seven years. Wow!

2. Tell us about your clothing line WOW WOW and what makes it unique.

WOW WOW is based on what I love to wear during summer. I began creating one-of-a-kind dresses for myself, and then designing for the majority of the top black dance companies in the USA—such as Alvin Ailey, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Evidence, to name a few—thanks to my collaboration work with choreographer Ronald K. Brown.

I source all my materials from West Africa, especially Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, and Guinea. I use mainly 100% cotton hand-printed batik (known in Nigeria by the Yoruba tribe as Adire) and not the imported Dutch wax, which folks call Africa Print.

WOW WOW is unique because of the fact that the materials I use are indigenous to West Africa, and each dress I make is unique in its own way… because the fabrics are only made in 5/6 yard lengths and no two are exactly the same!

3. You’re an accomplished performer as well as a fashion designer—tell us about how your experiences on stage translate into your fashion designs.

My experience on stage translates into my fashion in so many ways… but I would say first and foremost because I love drama, and the material/textiles I use bring a lot of drama! WOW WOW stands for “Want it, Own it, Wear It, Wunmi Olaiya Wear.” Also, when folks wear WOW WOW the first thing people say when they see them is wow!

4. Lastly, what makes DanceAfrica a special event for the community?

DanceAfrica is a special event for the community because DanceAfrica truly embraces Africa and the diaspora. Everyone who attends every year that I know comes back… because every year there is something new! And it is also loved because of the inclusion of the youths of the community… it is truly a village.


  1. Dance Africa Bam Bazaar is on today Sun! May 27th Time:12-8p Mon 28th
    Wow Wow by Wunmi (Clothing) + Lorraine NaTasha West as the guest Jewelry Designer! = Fresh Forward Fashion!
    Location:LOT 1 Booth 93 & 94 PARKING LOT between Flatbush Ave and Ashland Place, Side of BAM.
    (You also get to meet the designers!)

  2. Hi,
    I received a business card from you the Monday at the African Festival. I am interested into coming to your location to select your fashions but the business card that I was giving does not reflect where I can walk into the store or to make contact. I like to have the opportunity to make selections for purchase.

    I am in the Bronx area.

    Thanks, Khaf Re Em Amun

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