The Brilliance of Boucherouite: A Story on Sustainable Vintage | Res Ipsa

In the fall 2019, we formally opened our new atelier and showroom in Marrakech, Morocco. As always, we used the opportunity as a way to source interesting, sustainable textiles and fabrics in the city's well-known traditional marketplace. We knew we'd discover divine inspiration.

One day as we were walking through the ancient alley-ways, narrowly lined with mosaics, souk stalls and craftsman's shops, we were led deeper into the historically protected Medina than ever before. In an almost hidden corner, tucked away from the other tourists and crowds, we walked into a small courtyard. There beneath awnings draped together by bits and pieces of old tarp, towels and other scraps, appeared rows of tables with piles of throwaway clothing and textiles stacked as mounds for misfit goods.

As we began digging beneath the top layers of the abandoned goods, what we discovered next would become a new chapter in our story. Can you say it with us for the first time? Boucherouite (pronounced boo-shay-reet)  

What is Boucherouite?

Boucherouite Definition

  • A boucherouite is simply a Moroccan-Arabic phrase for torn and reused clothing. 
  • Boucheouite is historically used natural materials such as wool as the main fabric for weaving. Today, boucherouite uses recycled fabrics woven, stitched and embroidered together. 

Vintage Berber Boucherouite Rug #1

A Brief History of Boucherouite 

  • Boucherouite rugs are handwoven by the Berber tribe women. They follow age-old traditions as well as beliefs in creating colorful rugs. Instead of using traditional wool to weave the rugs, women in Morocco’s Atlas Mountain region weave together these yarn rugs from recycled carpets, wool, cotton, nylon, and plastic from shipping bags and packaging material to create beautiful rugs. This new practice began around the middle of 20th century
  • A few traditional uses include:
    • Family use
    • Improvisation
    • Artistic expression
    • Convention

Moroccan Boucherouite & the Berber Tribe

  • Boucherouite practices in Morocco originated from the women of Berber tribe, known as semi-nomadic and people entirely independent from urban cities like Marrakech and Fez.
  • Boucherouite practices originated largely for domestic use in the High Atlas Mountain regions of Morocco. The mountains range from the Atlantic Ocean in the west all the way to the Moroccan/Algerian border in the east. The mountains are home to Berber tribe who live on agriculture and other practices.
  • Many of the designs in Boucherouite rugs follow a mix of traditional and improvisational techniques.
  • The scarcity of local resources and impacts from global outputs contributed to the rethinking of weaving Boucherouite rugs. The practice of using traditional wools transformed into recycling accessible synthetic fibers and nylon.  

Qualities of Moroccan Boucherouite

  • Durable
  • Sustainable
  • Colorful & abstract
  • Uneven, irregular and unique
  • Handmade, stitched and embroidered
  • A New York Times reviewer once described the rugs: "And woven or stitched, many of the carpets sprout loops of yarn and ribbonlike fiber strips in a shag-rug effect that makes them resemble small plots of weedy, untrimmed grass. They look as if they were growing, spreading, changing shape." 

Boucherouite and Res Ipsa

We believe in and love the entire process behind the Boucherouite rugs. From start to finish, we believe that Boucherouite rugs from Morocco were destined to be a small part of our next chapter. Why? Below are eight of ten Res Ipsa core beliefs and brand values that are reasons why...they speak for themselves: 

We believe that you should do something with joy, or not at all.

We believe that beauty is not trivial.

We believe that every product should have a story.

We believe humans are hard-wired for narrative.

We believe that every person should travel as far as they can as often as they can.

We believe that travel is important because it opens minds and hearts.

We believe that you get back what you put out.

We believe makers of well-made products deserve to make a fair profit & living wage.

Res Ipsa Babouche Slides
We transformed the vintage Boucherouite rugs into something equally sustainable and cool. In addition to sourcing rugs of quality condition, we sourced worn out and old rugs we found that day in the Medina and remade them into, colorful one-of-kind babouche slides. Our babouche slides are doubly-sustainable: boucherouite rugs are repurposed from old textiles, and when they wear out we repurpose them into something new! You can shop our collection of one-of-a-kind Boucherouite rugs here. Please email us or visit one of our retail locations to purchase our slides. 

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