Salma Kashani is the founder of a unique fashion label, Bânu Magnifique, which works with local artists to create statement chiffon scarves made from recycled water bottles. Every artists’ pattern tells a story, and every purchase sees a percentage benefit the artist and Anxiety Canada, a mental health charity. We spoke with Salma to learn more. —Noa Nichol
Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m Salma Kashani, founder of Bânu Magnifique, a Canadian fashion line that turns art into eco-friendly chiffon scarves. I hold a master’s degree in computer engineering but I have always been passionate about art, colours and fashion. I dreamed of starting my own art-focused business and the pandemic gave me the opportunity to follow my heart.
When and why did you launch Bânu Magnifique?
I believe colourful art holds an invigorating power that can lift our spirit, help us feel joyful and improve our mental well-being. I was having a rough time during the lockdowns and I personally experienced that lift when I was surrounded by colours or when I changed into a vibrant outfit. I wanted to help others feel the same positivity. At the same time, because art workshops and exhibitions were shut down, I hoped to create a new way for artists to promote their work.
What niche were/are you aiming to fill?
Sustainability-conscious women who appreciate art and love to add some colours to their style while supporting artists and a great cause.
What products do you offer, and what makes them unique?
I carefully select colourful patterns from local artists and turn them into extremely light and soft chiffon scarves made from recycled water bottles. Every piece of art has a story behind it that reflects the artist’s thoughts and emotions. Each of these stories are printed on a card and accompany every purchase so you don’t just wear a scarf; you wear that artist’s story. The mental health component of my fashion line is very dear to my heart. That’s why in addition to supporting the artists, a percentage of the sales goes to Anxiety Canada to help support those who suffer from mental health issues.
Who are some of the local artists you have worked with, are working with and desire to work with.
In this new collection I worked with Lay Hoon (a.k.a. Arty Guava), Sophie Davari (Sophina Design), Erin Shakespeare, Nikoo Nikpendar, Nima Nasiri and Kimia Nassehi. I’m always on the lookout for talented artists with different cultural backgrounds and artistic styles in order to offer people a variety of styles and stories they can choose from. For my next collection, I’d love to work with an indigenous artist who practices indigenous art.
As we head into late summer/fall, which scarf are you rocking on repeat? Any top scarf styling tips for hot and cooler weather?
It’s really hard to choose one scarf and because the patterns are all so different, I wear one depending on the time of day and the outfit I’m wearing. I personally love floral patterns and I own a lot of green outfits that work great with Sophie Davari’s Bouquet pattern. That’s one of the scarves that I wear often draping around my neck, especially during the day time. Arty Guava’s Harmony pattern is my go to when I wear jeans or a navy skirt. Its unique pattern always gets me a lot of compliments. Erin’s Swept Up pattern works great with nude or black outfits to add that pop of warm colour to my style. I usually wear it in a loose tie style. To go out during the evenings, I love Nima’s Persian Garden pattern. Its darker colour and bright yellow motif make any outfit stand out. I love wearing that one around my shoulder to stay warm in the cooler nights and to show off the full pattern on the back. Nikoo’s gold Wild Woman pattern is also my go to for evening events when I want to elevate my black dress. I love wearing silver or gold jewelry with it to make it stand out more. Lastly, my Magic pattern and Kimia’s Dream pattern are for when I want to feel super colourful. Depending on my outfit, I wear them as hair accessories or simply tied around my neck. They definitely brighten up my day when I need it.