22 Sep 2020
Orléans, France
Sustainable Textiles and Clothing

While upcycling fabric for clothes has become a worldwide fashion movement, interior design has not staked a strong claim to leftover materials. Enter Bohup, a French e-commerce store for boutique homeware products that are made sustainably. “Until now, upcycling has been almost non-existent in interior design and decorating,” said Christine Gerard, Bohup’s co-founder. 

So far, Bohup’s signature product is the “boucherouite” rug, a traditional, invariably colourful Moroccan rug sewn from disparate scraps of fabric. Alongside the boucherouite, the company sells upcycled cushions and baskets crafted by French artisans. In this way, Bohup provides an outlet for consumers conscious not only about style, but also about their purchases’ social and environmental impacts.

Before establishing Bohup, Christine had been thinking about running a new professional project, one that focused on sustainable consumption. The perfect business partner was right at hand — Alan, her son and Bohup co-founder. Conveniently, Alan had just completed his university studies in corporate social responsibility and ethical marketing.

The mother-and-son duo decided to build a business around sustainable textiles for interior design products. Morocco, the home of the striking boucherouite rug, was an obvious starting point. But with which artisans would Bohup forge a commercial partnership?

The Gerards went to Morocco on a fact-finding trip and eventually decided to collaborate with IDYR, a Casablanca-based artisan cooperative and fellow Switcher. “IDYR won us over,” said Alan. “They have the same style and design ideas, and share our values of respecting people and the environment.”

The boucherouite rug is an attractive product for Bohup’s target demographic, which Christine describes as urbane, young, and eco-conscious. She adds that, typically, these shoppers are looking for homeware that is high-quality, responsibly produced, and reasonably priced. 

Bohup’s boucherouite rugs tick all of these boxes. Experienced craftspeople make all products. Each rug upcycles around 15 kg of scrap material. And Bohup and IDYR ensure that all workers receive fair remuneration for their efforts.

Salvaged fabric does not only appear in Bohup’s product range as part of boucherouite rugs. French designers use pre-loved pieces of material to construct baskets and decorate cushions and wall features.

And Bohup is now moving beyond fabric-based production. Through its Creative Space, Bohup invites artisans to market homeware goods built from salvaged materials like glass and metal. Some of the craftspeople responsible are based locally, in France; others hail from Burkina Faso in West Africa.

This opportunity to learn from varied influences drives Bohup’s vision of infusing interior design with both eco-social responsibility and creative flair. “The trips to Morocco are undoubtedly the best moments of the Bohup adventure,” said Alan. “They allowed us to discover a new culture, a new craft, and artisans passionate about their profession.”


Learn more about Bohup through the website, Etsy, Facebook, and Instagram.

Photos courtesy of Bohup

David Wood is a freelance writer and researcher based in Beirut. He previously worked in Cairo.David Wood
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