All images: Bokja.
Beirut-based design studio Bokja has launched its latest wearables collection for fall/winter. Founders Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri explain that “for this collection our inspiration was 'home', our homes. Capturing moods, dear memories and personal collectibles, sharing those moments and translating them on fine silk; a glimpse into our personal universe. Bokja wearables come charged with meaning and emotion, crusaders for conversation and discussion. These items are to be worn by the bold and the committed, in winter or in summer, disregarding norms of gender and trend.” All garments are made to order in Lebanon.
Across the Arab world, a bokja is an embellished textile wrapping to carry personal belongings. It is often used to hold a bride’s dowry – gifts from the women in her family wishing her a happy future. Bokja’s signature approach to design - which includes furniture and home furnishings in addition to clothing - is to marry pieces of previously used fabric or pattern, each with its own history to create unexpected juxtapositions of colour, pattern, texture and surface. Baroudi and Hibri work with a wide range of local craftspeople, drawing on centuries of knowledge, often undocumented and passed down through first-hand experience. Each piece demands different skills and knowledge of the application of these in different sequences. Fundamentally and importantly, being involved in the realisation of a Bokja piece enables these specialist craftspeople to apply their knowledge and skills in a contemporary rather than a traditional context.
Established in 2000, Bokja was born from Baroudi and Hibri’s shared passion for furniture, textiles, art and design. While Baroudi has spent her life collecting fabrics from the Silk Road, Hibri is an expert in antique pieces of furniture with a hidden beauty. The two married their expertise and knowledge of traditional craftsmanship and started out Bokja reupholstering vintage furniture found in antique stores and flea markets in Lebanon with precious fabrics from the region. Combining artisans, carpenters and designers, behind every Bokja design is a team of 35 specialised artisans from 10 countries such as Iraq, Syria, Kurdistan, Egypt and Lebanon.
Shop the Bokja Wearables fall/winter collection at bokja.comBokja took part in the Selvedge World Fair 2020, visit their artisan profile and store here.