SXSW Breakout Wafia Talks Concert Style, Cher, and Low-Rise Jeans

The Australia-based singer reveals her fashion go-tos.

Wrangler ICONS ™ Event at Austin Motel
Erich Schlegel

Buzz is a word oft heard on the streets of Austin, Texas, during the annual SXSW music and film festival—so much so that it loses its meaning by day two or three of nonstop concerts and artists showcases. That is, until you encounter someone who truly has it. This year, that was the BMI-signed singer-songwriter Wafia, who charmed crowds with her electronic R&B pop. Over the course of the festival, the 25-year-old played three shows, and made time to stop by the Austin Motel to celebrate the global launch of Wrangler’s new ICONS Collection, which features six iconic denim styles from Wrangler’s 70-year heritage, now re-issued and re-styled for 2019. Wrangler has always celebrated the denim x music connection so it was only appropriate for the up-and-comer to join in. Simply put, the Australia-based singer was everywhere in Austin, and soon enough, her songs—including the breakout hits “I’m Good” and “Better Not” —will be, too. Here, Wafia breaks down her own personal style, including what she wears onstage to feel confident and why SZA is her style icon.

How does what you wear onstage versus off-stage differ?

Not too much, I’m always in sneakers and oversized shirts or hoodies. The biggest difference is probably that I don’t really wear makeup off stage.

What do you look for in a performance outfit?

Something that makes me feel confident and comfortable.

What makes a good pair of jeans?

Loose! Preferably ripped at the knees.

Who is your ultimate style icon?

SZA. She does feminine and streetwear really well. She also exudes confidence, and I admire that most.

Most prized possession in your closet:

It changes a lot but right now it’s a pair of Off-White striped jeans.

First major fashion purchase:

I can’t remember. Probably a pair of sneakers. I remember it being such big deal the first time I bought a pair of Nikes.

What was the last thing you purchased?

A super cute cropped Opening Ceremony sweater.

Currently on your shopping wish-list:

A fashionable but practical winter jacket. Do those even exist?

Biggest fashion regret?

Trying to make low-rise jeans work on me.

Where are your favorite places to shop?

If not online, I do most of my shopping back in Australia. I love Harrods and Incu, as well as this sweet little boutique in Brisbane called Violent Green.

Favorite onstage outfit you’ve ever worn:

A white long Annakiki dress with all these little sketches/drawings on it.

Favorite fashion moment from pop culture:

Cher, in any era!

What is always in your bag:

Lucas’ Papaw lip balm.

Song to listen to when getting ready:

“Boogie” by Brockhampton.