The Story

Shwari believes in two things: using African prints to make the world’s most stylish manshorts and empowering Tanzanians. Owning a pair means you do too.

Shwari is an ethical clothing company. We use the highest quality African wax kitenge & khanga prints sourced in the local markets of East Africa. All our shorts are manufactured in a small factory owned and operated by talented and enterprising Tanzanian woman named Kemi who has an amazing team of specially-trained and well-paid tailors. Buying a pair of Shwaris is good for your style and good for your conscience.

Made in Bongo Bongo means brain in Swahili. No one seems to agree on why people started referring to Tanzania as “bongo”, but we know the term was first adopted by hip hop musicians to mean “hustler”.

Soon Tanzanian hip hop was known as “Bongo Flava” and eventually people just adopted the term to mean anything Tanzanian, including the country itself. To us, bongo is an attitude, something you can put on. Just like these awesome manshorts.

fabric market

Shwari? Shwari can mean cool, fresh, suave all at once. There’s no direct translation. But if someone in Bongo land greets you, you can respond “Shwari!” and he or she will know exactly what you mean.

About that Wax Our shorts are made from colorful African Kitenge fabric. Many designs have a meaning and can be used to communicate emotions, mark holidays, or celebrate special occasions. If some fabrics appear stiff or shiny, that’s because they are coated with a layer of wax to preserve the color in the dusty street markets where they’re traditionally sold. Just give them a wash or two and they will become softer as the wax comes off. It’s like breaking into your jeans in the 70’s, but you might not remember that.