“This is not just a gallery or retail space, but more of a creative space.”
At only 22 years old, Avery Barnes bridges two continents with her boutique in Pioneer Square. Taswira sells clothing and jewelry made by African women, enriching two communities a world apart. Raised in Chicago, Barnes’s first heroes were her single mother and her actress grandmother, who starred as adorable moppet Zuzu in It’s a Wonderful Life back in 1946. She never knew her father, but intrigued by her Nigerian roots, Barnes journeyed to Africa to work with Bamburi Women Empowerment Center in Mombasa, Kenya. While women craft and learn business skills, Barnes sells their wares and other imported art in Seattle.
After a series of popups in local markets, Taswira secured an empty storefront through Seattle Restored, an economic development program partly funded by the city. Her shop is in Pioneer Square through at least November and is the only African streetwear boutique she’s heard of in the U.S.