Toubab Paris - Ethnic & ethical jewellery20:04
Established in 2007, Toubab Paris is the brainchild of Maud Villaret a freelance designer graduate of the Duperee Higher Institute of Applied Arts. From a very young age she had been attracted to Africa, its people and traditions. During her studies in 2004 she travelled to Mali to learn more about traditional fabric dyeing and was hooked to African fabric ever since.
The word " Toubab" is a word mixing Wolof and Arabic originally meaning "to convert" used sometimes in a derogatory way to describe "white" European people in West and Central Africa.
I have to say that when I first heard about the brand and its name I was a bit sceptical about the choice. The word "toubab" is not always used in a very positive manner amongst African. And for a "white" woman to choose such a name to represent her brand and her love for Africa was a bit ... uneducated. Maybe it can be seen as an attempt to show humility and come to us as we see her, without disguise.
Maybe it was her way of showing that she is not taking herself seriously and embrace everything her colour and differences means to Africans.
Maybe I am the one looking too much into things.
However you want to see it you cannot deny the real passion and generosity behind Maud 's work. She is completely dedicated to support and promote African artisans.
She primarily uses and mixes wax and bazin fabrics for her creations that she buys them from local artisans and contribute to boost their income and activity.
Each pieces is made in a limited number either by African artisans or in insertion centrer in France which helps people in need.
Coming back to the collection itself I have to say that I am all for statement pieces when it comes to necklaces and her collections are all about statement pieces !
Some pieces are pretty in a messy sort of way when other are more delicate. I love how they come alive with African shells, Murano glass pearls, Swarovski crystals and exotic buttons.
In London, Toubab Paris jewellery are available at the ultra chic boutique Soboye in Shoreditch. You can also find Soboye on Tumblr with more pictures of the collection they carry.
The price range start from £10 up to £500 !