Today is March 8 and marks yet another International Women’s Day. It’s a wonderful opportunity to treat a special woman in your life — be it your wife, sister, mother or girlfriend. But how do you find that perfect gift? Enter one of our new favourite fashion brands: Bouswari.
Bouswari is a Toronto-based luxury company that offers leather handbags and small accessories, manufactured in Senegal. “We are inspired by the Senegalese and African traditions, with the aim to make contemporary products for the international market,” explains designer Diarra Niang.
Passionate about fashion and originally from Senegal herself, Diarra moved to Canada in 2009. Prior to that, she studied fashion and luxury management and marketing in France, and then worked in the fashion sector in Paris. In 2010, she came across an article that explored the leather market on the African continent, which sparked the idea in her head. While on vacation in 2011, she met with Senegalese artisans and was impressed by their incredible creativity despite very limited resources. Diarra subsequently invested in machinery, strengthened her partnership with the artisans and has never looked back.
“Bouswari is a great way for me to share my roots and culture with Canada,” she says. “Our customers are sophisticated, educated urban citizens: they like to travel and discover other cultures and traditions. They are also conscious people, who care about the impact they have on the world.”
So what items does Diarra recommend for the perfect International Women’s Day gift? “Our fashion essentials are belt bags and totes: they are handy for any vacation or trip. The Nafa Crossbody and the Nafa Belt Bags also have a special story, as they are inspired and named after the traditional nafa bag used by Senegalese women.
“The original nafa was a small, usually triangular, piece that was worn around the neck or as a crossbody. No Senegalese woman, including queens and princesses, would wear a traditional costume without a nafa.”
“The Touareg Bourse is also an excellent gift choice,” she adds. “This bag is spacious and feminine. It is inspired by the Touareg people: the main inhabitants of the Sahara desert.”
To shop the latest Bouswari collection, head to their online boutique at bouswari.com