‘In Casa by Paboy’ is a small homeware social enterprise based in Naples, Italy, founded by craftsman and designer Paboy Bojang, aged 29, during the first Pandemic lockdown in Spring 2020.
Bojang, originally from the Gambia and currently seeking asylum in Italy, hand-sews bright sweet wrapper coloured cushion covers by hand from 100% cotton, which he sources from local suppliers in his neighbourhood in the historic centre of Naples.
Bojang honed his craft when at thirteen, he was sent to work in his uncle's tailor shop to learn how to sew in his home town of Serrekunda. Relied upon to become the principal breadwinner for his family, finishing school was not an option but he soon developed a keen eye for choosing fabrics and colour combinations. Living under a brutal 22 year dictatorship, Bojang, like many of his peers, felt pressure to leave his country in search of fortune elsewhere, arriving into Italy in July 2015 after a brutal two year journey across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea.
In Naples, Bojang eventually found work in the prestigious majolica workshop Antica Manifattura di Stingo (their tiles and vases decorate The Four Seasons Hotel in Miami and in The Sirenuse in Positano) after two years of living in a refugee camp. But by the end of 2019 due to the slowness of the Italian immigration system to renew his asylum papers he lost his job.
By Spring 2020, Bojang was frustrated at being in lockdown, so began making cushions covers using fabrics he found and an old sewing machine he was lent. He put his creations on Instagram and his bold signature style quickly garnered a popular international following.
As the business began to grow Bojang was determined to employ his fellow migrants, providing the opportunities that he felt were so lacking. A year later, Bojang still sews each individual cushion by hand but with the much needed support of his talented young team whose origins stretch three continents but who have found a home in Naples.
Moving forward, Bojang hopes to be a torchbearer for migrants in Naples, who no longer need to rely on exploitative (and scarcely existent) employers but can build independent and bright futures using their own skills and the fruits of global technology just at the end of their fingertips.
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