Its fabric is made from 100% recycled water bottles.
For many fashion entrepreneurs, more is more.
Not only has fashion historically operated on a seasonal cycle, but more items generally mean more opportunities to reach more customers and more buying opportunities. But in this age of climate insecurity where the fashion industry has reached a tipping point of mass consumption and disposables, a business decision doesn’t have to be made with the economy in mind.
For a Vancouver fashion designer, the choice to become more sustainable and eco-friendly meant completely restarting her business and focusing on one item that she could deliver well.
Salma Kashani launched her business, Bânu Magnifique, during the pandemic when art became an outlet for her to deal with depressing circumstances. She says she found that when she wore a bright and colorful outfit, she felt better and wanted to spread that joy and positivity to others. She began appearing at Lower Mainland markets and events with a collection of wallets, earrings, scarves, bow ties, and even a skirt.
But nine months ago, she made the choice to recreate her brand in as sustainable and eco-friendly a way as possible, which meant retiring some of her incredible designs.
“My brand kind of evolved. I knew I had to improve it,” she says, “So I wanted to focus on materials that are more environmentally friendly. through this process. I decided to just go for one article instead of having many.”
The piece she chose to focus on was the scarf.
Its online store was relaunched this week with the new approach.
She spent months searching for the right fabric until she found muslin made from 100% recycled water bottles.
Kashani did not design the scarves, but has partnered with Vancouver artists with a wide range of styles and highlights their work on each scarf. “The whole brand is based on vibrant colors,” she says. “I love colors. Home is colorful; I’ve been doing abstract art since I was a kid because my mom is an artist and she introduced me to it. I wanted to create a brand where people could carry these joyful patterns with them to make them happy and make the people around them happy.”
Not everyone is comfortable with a loud shirt or skirt, so Kashani chose the scarf in part to act as a pop of color in a neutral outfit. “It’s easy to style,” she explains, “they can wear it on the head, around the neck, even around handbags, there are different ways to use the scarf to add that color.”
She also felt that the scarves were an accessible item to buy online because there are no sizes and the focus on art provides enough variety for people without having to introduce a bunch of different products like the make some fast fashion brands. There are seven designs including one by Kashani herself and each scarf will come with a card describing the art and the artist.
The scarf called Harmony features the art of Vancouver artist Joyce Lay Hoon Ho (aka Arty Guava), with illustrated figures dancing in nature inspired by her childhood in Malaysia. Another from Nikoo Nikpeikaran is called Wild Woman and has a realistic portrait hidden in an abstract painting.
North Vancouver artist Erin Shakespeare’s art is inspired by romantic energy and expressed through brushstrokes of flowers and birds in flight. “The artwork was the main thing,” Kashani says, explaining that she chose a variety of artists whose work she admired.
She hasn’t ruled out introducing different sizes of scarves like squares or thicker scarves for winter, but that would involve figuring out how to maintain the durability she’s worked so hard for. She will also continue to sell her dead animals in pop-ups around Vancouver, but they are no longer listed on her website and once they are gone, they are gone.
Her next pop-up will be on October 16 at Made in 604 at the Pipe Shop in North Vancouver.