I was so excited when I got to connect with Leilani Evans the owner and designer of the Bohemian inspired clothing line WAWAHA.
Leilani and I met ages ago in elementary school and I was given the opportunity to reconnect with her at Fashion Splash in August. I fell in love with her collection and the inspiration behind her brand. I sat down with Leilani for a short interview to find out more about why she started WAWAHA and her design process.
Laura Mitbrodt: Why did you start your own business?
Leilani Evans: I started WAWAHA because I noticed that there was a gap in the market place for comfortable and durable fashion with a bohemian flare. I wanted to create something with a personal touch that wasn’t mass produced. All of WAWAHA clothing portrays a sense of feminine purity and cultivates a quality of luxurious play. It is absolutely vital to me that these qualities come through not only in the designs, but also in the construction.
LM: What is the history behind the name of the brand?
LE: The word WAWAHA comes from the local dialect where I was born on Norfolk Island, located in the South Pacific. On Norfolk Island people used the word WAWAHA to describe someone who was arrogant or showing off. WAWAHA often had a negative connotation to it but I always felt that being called WAWAHA could be seen as a positive thing. WAWAHA, to me, means knowing your true beauty and to have an understated confidence.
LM: Where do you look for inspiration?
LE: I find inspiration in my travels to Indonesia, because of the country’s abundance of artisans creating handicrafts passed down from generation to generation. On my travels, I discovered amazing handmade vintage treasures like hand beaded Indonesian wedding baskets, batiked fabric and stories portrayed through specific rattan weaves. All of WAWAHA garments incorporate these old world artisan techniques which date back to a time where the process of creation was just as important as the final product. Each and every garment is unique and one of kind due to the hands on craftsmanship.
LM: Who is your style icon?
LE: If I were to choose one person in the present moment who possesses a style that I appreciate, it would be Mimie Lashiry. She’s a cute little thing that bounces around from surfer chick, to ‘90’s grunge to boho hippie babe. She never pigeon holes her style, and that is something I appreciate and applaud.
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