Huda & Maria
Huda Baroudi and Maria Hibri are the two founders and creative directors of Bokja, a beautiful art & creation studio from Beirut, famous for its unique aesthetic mixing ancient and modern textiles. Discover our interview of Huda and Maria, who share a same vision of Beauty, History, Multiculturalism and Freedom.
Huda and Maria, can you tell us how Bokja Design was created, and what does ‘Bokja' mean?
‘Bokja’ is the regional word for ‘bundle’ or the piece of fabric that is used to wrap the dowry of a bride. A familial tradition, a typical ‘bokja’ always bears the treatment of hand-embroidery from different female members of the family. Since its inception, Bokja has grown into a very successful multi-level design studio building the story of Beirut’s numerous co-existing cultures through their famous assemblage fabric, establishing itself as a disruptive and innovative brand, breaking down barriers and weaving human connections.
Your work is about fusion: thru shapes and fabrics, you mix antique and modern History, different cultures, different traditions… How is this important in the Bokja ‘spirit’?
Through trade and travel, textiles, patterns and colors are gathered from around the world, re-assembled to create each Bokja assemblage. In every Bokja assemblage, the integrity of each piece is upheld as it is connected with foreign cultures and fabrics.
Is History important in your work? And how do you deliver messages - political, social, poetical - thru your designs?
Bokja is a mirror of what is happening in the world, reflected through textile and embroidery. The subject matter in our work ranges elements of nature to iconography from popular culture. Bokja's work is a meditation Our signature, a visually entangles assembly of fabric pieces, encompasses several techniques Bokja’s work is a meditation of the changing cultural history of textile, how it can be created and collected, how it can travel and adapt, and how it can ultimately be shared and communicated.
What is your definition of Beauty?
Bokja brings together poetic fragments of a time and place and situates them in unusual arrangements.
We find beauty in the interaction between different elements. It is through these juxtapositions of disparate surfaces and its final application that the importance of each component becomes magnified; a rich and unexpected visual language is created.
You both have (gorgeous!) curly hair, which gives you such a special aura… What is your relationship with your hair? Did you always let it free & curly?
Huda- During my teenage years I used to blow dry my hair. Letting it flow freely, gave me another level of freedom.
Maria- I am like Delilah, my hair has always been my secret weapon.
Now our 3 typical questions, about your 'hairstories':
What is your hair top?
Huda- I am a Leo and my hair plays a big role in my astrological identity.
Maria- Part of becoming aware of my femininity involved letting my hair grow and feeling empowered through it.
Do you have a hair flop?
Huda- I was once cut my hair asymmetrically, back in the 80s; it didn’t suit me at all.
Maria- My most expensive hair cut was the worst I have ever wore; I looked like Rod Stewart.
Can you share a hairtip?
Huda- Coconut Oil
Maria- I braid it after washing, right before it dries completely.
Finally, what are the next projects and developments for Bokja Design?
The brand’s mashup of textures and eras has revived heirlooms, reclaimed furniture pieces, and provoked conversations through textile. Using the same aesthetic language, the brand expands its conversation into the world of wearables.
Shaeri ❤️ Bokja