Tafari Wraps brings the beauty of African textiles to Somerville's Bow Market

In honor of Black History Month, Somerville’s Bow Market is partnering with Black Owned Bos to highlight local Black-owned businesses — including the luxury apparel and decor brand Tafari Wraps.

The brand was founded in the fall of 2006 by the mother-daughter duo Imani McFarlane and Delmeshia Haynes. The two started the collection to bring the beauty of African textiles to the accessories and home decor industry, with items like head wraps, placemats and aprons.

Haynes, who describes herself as an educator, set designer, and anthropologist, said Tafari uses textiles like Ankara — which is typically used to make African prints.

“These bright, vibrant textiles… that defines Ankara. It defines the silks that we choose to work with,” Haynes said. “Color therapy, you know? Colors are healing.”

A head wrap is displayed at Tafari Wraps in Somerville’s Bow Market.

Karen Marshall / GBH News

While Tafari’s products are designed with the African Diaspora in mind, Haynes said that the company’s products are geared towards all types of people — regardless of their background.

“It’s the same as if you were wearing a silk scarf that you have from Bloomingdales,” Haynes said. “We do not work with [sacred] fabric that is reserved for rituals, funerals or weddings.”

Haynes said Tafari’s head wraps can be especially meaningful to people who suffer from hair loss, whom she calls “hair thrivers.”

“When you start to lose your hair — be it from Lupus, Alopecia, chemotherapy… especially for women, that is challenging,” she said. “But when you are able to get this vibrant textile… you do feel your spirit elevated and uplifted.”

Tafari’s products are mainly sold online – but Haynes said the brand would consider opening a brick-and-mortar store outside of the U.S., where buying a head wrap is “commonplace.”

“Boston is very conservative, as we all know,” she said. “From a fashion standpoint, even interior decorating, like it’s very conservative. It’s very monochromatic… like, we are Caribbean people, and we want to celebrate that.”

“It’s the same as if you were wearing a silk scarf that you have from Bloomingdales. We do not work with [sacred] fabric that is reserved for rituals, funerals or weddings.”

-Delmeshia Haynes

She added that especially in the Greater Boston area, racial disparities can also limit the Black community from being able to purchase the luxury products that Tafari offers.

“Things would just have to change economically for the Black community here,” Haynes said. “And there just has to be more conversation about what is cultural appropriation, versus [cultural appreciation].”

Tafari Wraps can be purchased at the Black Owned Bos pop-up at Bow Market in Somerville through March 5.

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By Betty C. Giordano

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