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The Boucharouite Project

Calla Haynes weaves beauty and sustainability into majestic Moroccan rugs

 

Morocco has a certain hold on the fashion world, often serving as a source of inspiration for designers—whether it’s Yves Saint Laurent’s cobalt blue Majorelle Garden villa, the sights and sounds of the souks, or the region’s luscious landscapes. For Paris-based Canadian designer Calla Haynes and her new sustainable undertaking, The Boucharouite Project, this holds true—though she’s inspired by a humbler part of Moroccan culture: the traditional handwoven rag rugs known as boucharouite. Normally made from scraps of used cloth, Haynes has collaborated with a group of Moroccan weavers to craft an elevated collection of rugs using off-cuts of her own designer fabrics—giving them new life in a new form. The results are beautiful, and Haynes hopes the project inspires other people to start thinking more about upcycling, sustainability, and being more aware of what we throw away.

 

Here, Haynes shares how The Boucharouite Project came to be, why working with the weavers has been so fulfilling, and what made H Project the perfect partner to bring the custom creations to Canada.

The Boucharouite Project

Calla Haynes weaves beauty and sustainability into majestic Moroccan rugs

 

Morocco has a certain hold on the fashion world, often serving as a source of inspiration for designers—whether it’s Yves Saint Laurent’s cobalt blue Majorelle Garden villa, the sights and sounds of the souks, or the region’s luscious landscapes. For Paris-based Canadian designer Calla Haynes and her new sustainable undertaking, The Boucharouite Project, this holds true—though she’s inspired by a humbler part of Moroccan culture: the traditional handwoven rag rugs known as boucharouite. Normally made from scraps of used cloth, Haynes has collaborated with a group of Moroccan weavers to craft an elevated collection of rugs using off-cuts of her own designer fabrics—giving them new life in a new form. The results are beautiful, and Haynes hopes the project inspires other people to start thinking more about upcycling, sustainability, and being more aware of what we throw away.

 

Here, Haynes shares how The Boucharouite Project came to be, why working with the weavers has been so fulfilling, and what made H Project the perfect partner to bring the custom creations to Canada.

Holt Renfrew Woman Wearing Designer Clothes. Moroccan Boucharouite Carpets Made From Recycled Fashion Fabrics.

“I’ve always loved the craftsmanship
and the aesthetic of Moroccan Boucharouite
carpets and I thought it would be amazing
to recycle my fabrics into these rugs.”

 

 

The Boucharouite Project. Calla Haynes weaves beauty and sustainability into majestic Moroccan rugs

“I’ve always loved the craftsmanship and the aesthetic of Moroccan Boucharouite carpets and I thought it would be amazing to recycle my fabrics into these rugs.”

Holt Renfrew Woman Wearing Designer Clothes. Moroccan Boucharouite Carpets Made From Recycled Fashion Fabrics.

What is The Boucharouite Project?

Calla Haynes: When I decided to put my womenswear collection on hiatus in 2015, I had this archive of leftover fabrics that were custom made for me, all original prints and special jacquards, and I wanted to do something meaningful with it. I’ve always loved the craftsmanship and the aesthetic of Moroccan boucharouite carpets and I thought it would be amazing to recycle this fabric into these rugs. So, I started researching it more and more, until I found someone who understood the concept because normally these rugs are made from literal rags, leftover fabric, or old clothing that’s been ripped up. So, the fact that I wanted to give them new, luxurious fabrics to work with was sort of a strange concept for them to wrap their heads around. But I found the right people that wanted to give it a try. It was a learning process of going back and forth with this collaboration until we got the right mix of fabric and their technique.

How does the project benefit the weavers?

CH: The women I work with, they’re not from an organization, they work from their home and on their own schedule. I was working with a man in Marrakech who’s well connected and can get anything made for you. He contacted part of his family who live in a very poor village outside of Marrakech and he gave them the opportunity to do the work. When I went to visit them, he was explaining how this work really means a lot to them because they live below the poverty line, they’re off the grid, and they’re not part of a cooperative. So, the fact that someone found them and gave them the work, they’re very appreciative.

How has your background and interest in pattern and textile design influenced this project?

CH: It’s a real collaboration with the women, where I control the material and colours. So, definitely, my experience in pattern design and colour has really come into play and I’m really enjoying finding these mixes of colour and composition for them. I give the weavers a general idea of pattern, but through the learning process of working together, and my appreciation for their aesthetic, I don’t want to, and I know I shouldn’t, give them too much direction. I want to let them do what they love and what they’re talented at.

What made you interested in partnering with H Project?

CH: I presented the first series of carpets in May 2017 in Paris at Designer Days Festival and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do next because it’s not something that I can properly turn into a wholesale business—I’m not going to mass produce these rugs, but I wanted to find one or two key retail partners. Being Canadian and following H Project on Instagram, I had the idea to reach out to Alexandra Weston. My project has a connection to high fashion, sustainability and recycling, and also supporting artisans—it checks a lot of boxes that I think corresponds to Holt Renfrew and H Project.

How does it feel to repurpose something you’ve made into something completely new?

CH: When I was recycling my own prints back into the carpet, it was so nice to see them in this new way—in my home I can look down and see these memories of things that I created. Moroccan families often use old clothes to make the rugs, and sometimes they are clothes that are quite meaningful, like a baby’s dress or a grandfather’s shirt or something like that. So, it can really tell a story and have a personal connection, which is powerful.

What is The Boucharouite Project?

Calla Haynes: When I decided to put my womenswear collection on hiatus in 2015, I had this archive of leftover fabrics that were custom made for me, all original prints and special jacquards, and I wanted to do something meaningful with it. I’ve always loved the craftsmanship and the aesthetic of Moroccan boucharouite carpets and I thought it would be amazing to recycle this fabric into these rugs. So, I started researching it more and more, until I found someone who understood the concept because normally these rugs are made from literal rags, leftover fabric, or old clothing that’s been ripped up. So, the fact that I wanted to give them new, luxurious fabrics to work with was sort of a strange concept for them to wrap their heads around. But I found the right people that wanted to give it a try. It was a learning process of going back and forth with this collaboration until we got the right mix of fabric and their technique.

How does the project benefit the weavers?

CH: The women I work with, they’re not from an organization, they work from their home and on their own schedule. I was working with a man in Marrakech who’s well connected and can get anything made for you. He contacted part of his family who live in a very poor village outside of Marrakech and he gave them the opportunity to do the work. When I went to visit them, he was explaining how this work really means a lot to them because they live below the poverty line, they’re off the grid, and they’re not part of a cooperative. So, the fact that someone found them and gave them the work, they’re very appreciative.

How has your background and interest in pattern and textile design influenced this project?

CH: It’s a real collaboration with the women, where I control the material and colours. So, definitely, my experience in pattern design and colour has really come into play and I’m really enjoying finding these mixes of colour and composition for them. I give the weavers a general idea of pattern, but through the learning process of working together, and my appreciation for their aesthetic, I don’t want to, and I know I shouldn’t, give them too much direction. I want to let them do what they love and what they’re talented at.

What made you interested in partnering with H Project?

CH: I presented the first series of carpets in May 2017 in Paris at Designer Days Festival and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do next because it’s not something that I can properly turn into a wholesale business—I’m not going to mass produce these rugs, but I wanted to find one or two key retail partners. Being Canadian and following H Project on Instagram, I had the idea to reach out to Alexandra Weston. My project has a connection to high fashion, sustainability and recycling, and also supporting artisans—it checks a lot of boxes that I think corresponds to Holt Renfrew and H Project.

How does it feel to repurpose something you’ve made into something completely new?

CH: When I was recycling my own prints back into the carpet, it was so nice to see them in this new way—in my home I can look down and see these memories of things that I created. Moroccan families often use old clothes to make the rugs, and sometimes they are clothes that are quite meaningful, like a baby’s dress or a grandfather’s shirt or something like that. So, it can really tell a story and have a personal connection, which is powerful.

Holt Renfrew Selection Of Handcrafted Moroccan Carpets From Designer Calla Haynes.

“It’s a real collaboration with the women...
and I don’t want to give them too much direction.
I want to let them do what they love and what they’re talented at.”

View a selection of handcrafted Moroccan carpets from designer Calla Haynes and custom order your own personalized design,
only at Holt Renfrew Bloor Street until July 3.

 

SEE EVENT DETAILS

“It’s a real collaboration with the women...and I don’t want to give them too much direction. I want to let them do what they love and what they’re talented at.”

View a selection of handcrafted Moroccan carpets from designer Calla Haynes and custom order your own personalized design, only at Holt Renfrew Bloor Street until July 3.

 

SEE EVENT DETAILS