Currently Coveting: In Casa by Paboy’s Ruffled Cushion


During last summer’s lockdown in Naples, Italy, 28-year-old Paboy Bojang posted his venture’s first message on Instagram: “My name is Paboy, I am an asylum seeker trying to build a future in Europe. I risked my life crossing the deadly desert and the Mediterranean Sea to get here. I used to work at a prestigious majolica workshop called Stingo making tiles and vases but lost my job because the immigration bureaucracy is so bad and I am still waiting for my documents to be renewed. I’ve been waiting almost a year now. I was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to start something myself in order to survive. I was a tailor in The Gambia when I was a teenager and I realized I could use those skills to make elegant cushions. Please help me grow my business, my first line of cushions hand sewn in Naples.”

That was on July 31, 2020, and since then Paboy’s signature pillows—exuberantly colored boudoir squares edged in frilly trim—have repeatedly sold out. After several years of living in Italian migrant camps, Paboy now has his own quarters in a British journalist friend’s place in Naples, and dubbed his business In Casa By Paboy. He and his creations have recently been spotlighted in the Financial Times’s “How to Spend It” column, British House & Garden, and the Vogue website. The FT’s take: “If joy could be sewn and stitched with ruffles, it would be an In Casa By Paboy cushion.”

Of course, there’s a lot more than happiness sewn up in these pillows. But they are undeniably uplifting and have been making their way around the world.

Above: Paboy Bojang with one of his ruffled designs on a rooftop in Naples. He made his first cushion using vintage fabric and a sewing machine that his journalist friend had stashed under her bed. He then started gathering remnants locally and now has been giving the fabric shops in his neighborhood a lot of business. Photograph by Giuseppe Attanasio.
Above: In Casa By Paboy cushions are priced at €85 for the ruffled versions, €75 for fringed, inserts not included—and yes, he ships all over. (Shipping to the States start at approximately €25.) Paboy’s online shop shows a sampling of the many color combinations and trims, all in cotton, but he’s currently sold out. Paboy tipped us off that his next drop will be on March 8; watch @in_casa_by_paboy for previews. Photograph by Giuseppe Attanasio.
Above: Paboy learned to sew at the age of 13 by working in his uncle’s tailor shop in Serrekunda, Gambia. When his uncle fled the dictatorship in the country, Paboy ran the shop and was his family’s breadwinner. In 2013, at age 20, he, too, fled, and endured a journey beyond fathoming: he was imprisoned by armed militia in Libya and spent a year sleeping in the doorways of Tripoli. Eventually, he was in a rescued rubber dingy that led him to the migrant camps of Italy—his first was so overcrowded and notorious, it got shut down.

Paboy is a nickname given to boys named after a grandfather in West African countries. He has recently been able to recruit and train fellow refugees to sew with him, and has just moved to a new work space bigger than this one. Note the red zippers in the lower right: they’re a Paboy signature on the back of every pillow. Photograph by Giuseppe Attanasio.

Above: Gingham Ruffle Cushions are a collaboration between In Casa by Paboy and UK interiors shop By Alice. They’re available in three color combinations from By Alice for £110 each, feather inserts included.
Above: Interior designer Mandy Watkins of Space Like This added a Paboy ruffled pillow to the mix in her living room in Anglesey, in North Wales. Photograph courtesy of @Spacelikethis.
Above: Paboy has been helping to support his sisters back home with the proceeds from his cushions. He is a proud social enterprise owner, and hopes to expand his line to include tablecloths, bedsheets, and duvet covers. Photograph by Giuseppe Attanasio,

Here are some more standout small workshops:

London Artist Sophie Sellu’s Functional Wood Sculptures
14 Women Ceramicists with Cult Followings
Crafts and Kinship: Broom Making, Weaving, and More at Berea College in Kentucky

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