Couture Culture Panel

Panelists: Loza Maléombho

Established in New York City in 2009 and relocated in Côte d’Ivoire since 2012 where its production also takes place, the brand is best described as a fusion between traditional cultures/ sub-cultures and contemporary fashion. In fact, Loza Maléombho credits her early world wide exposure for the ecclectic aesthetic and multi-culturalism ever present in her work.

Born in Brazil and raised between Côte d’Ivoire and the United States, she was designing since 13, and graduated in 2006 from the University of the Arts of Philadelphia with a BA of Fine Arts in Animation. She was then initiated in the fashion industry by interning with New york based designers Jill Stuart, Yigal Azrouël and Cynthia Rowley all before deciding to start a brand of her own.

By producting in Côte d’Ivoire, Loza’s vision is to empower women with a small manufacturing workshop that produces the collection and solely hires young women from unfavorable backgrounds. She also works closely with local artisans on featured products such as Indigo dye fabric, jewelry, shoes and accessories.

Panelists: Busayo Olupona

Busayo O.

Busayo Olupona is an attorney, textile and fashion designer, boxer, writer and podcast host. She is the founder and creative director of Busayo; an apparel company that utilizes traditional Nigerian textiles to create contemporary women’s wear. In addition, she has authored several pieces on the history of Adire, an indigenous Nigerian textile and other Nigerian textiles.

Prior to her life as an entrepreneur, she practiced corporate finance law and securities law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Panelists: Kukua Odoi


Brooklyn-based Marketing expert and blogger Kukua Odoi (aka MsK) started African Prints in Fashion (APiF) in Summer 2011 as a blog to document the influence of the African Diaspora on fashion, track on Africa-inspired trends and showcase African as well as Africa-inspired designers. Through a unique mix of personal favorites, interviews, trends and a distinctive voice, African Prints in Fashion has established itself within a short time in the African Fashion/Africa-inspired blogging community. APiF has over 210.000 followers and keeps on growing.

Special Guests: Wunmi Olaiya

Wunmi Olaiya, international recording artist and global brand, is the embodiment of cultural confidence. Her raw lyricism and musical performances have been described as “sensational,” “breathtaking,” “mesmerizing” from London to Tokyo to Bahia and feature an eclectic mix of AfroBeat, House, Jazz, Funk; likening her to a new-era Fela Kuti.  She’s made music and shared stages with everyone from Soul II Soul to Tony Allen to Roy Ayers.

Wunmi is as real as it gets, and her performance talent is fully matched by her gift as a fashion architect. Having designed for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Esmerelda Spalding and Susan Taylor, among others, her stringent commitment to superior quality, authenticity, beauty has made her own clothing line—Wow Wow by Wunmi—one of the most coveted ready to wear African fashion brands on the planet. Join Wunmi and other culturally confident ALAs (Africans Living Abroad) at NDFS Cultural Confidence.

Learn more about Wunmi here.