March 22, 2018

This is RAGAMUF - The most soulful home textile innovation

Ragamuf is a result of Martta Leskelä’s (the founder and CEO) long term passion for acting for the sake of people in need of support. She wanted to start a business with a humane cause so she thought of employing refugee women without a livelihood residing in Turkey so that they can live more independent and happy life.

“Syrian women weave large rugs in a new Finnish project.”

A stretchy RAGAMUF chair rug cover fits itself over chairs of different shapes and sizes. Every single RAGAMUF chair rug cover is unique, as its maker gets to personally pick the design, colors, and shapes that they wish to use. As such, not only are rugs surprisingly gorgeous, but they are also meaningful to the persons who make them.

RAGAMUF employs Syrian refugee women, who reside in Turkey near the Syrian border. Machines or looms are not needed for the creation of them. They are made by hand out of knitted rug, which is produced of the surplus of the textile industry. The materials are procured locally from Turkey, which keeps transportation distances short. Our local humanitarian aid organization partner’s aid in Sanliurfa, Turkey enables us to find the employees we hire via a Turkish RAGAMUF subsidiary, and allows us to make sure that the women are paid fair and lawful wages.

Shop online: Ragamuf chair rugs

“Best Use of Innovation 2017”

Finnish project Ragamuf produces colourful rugs large enough to cover furniture. They are made by Syrian women in Turkey. by helsinkidesignweek

Where did it all begin?

I was at Finland’s Central Arts Council’s residence in Edinburgh with my two sons intending to study the world of fabulous Scottish knits and wool fabrics and to develop my own angle to them. In the farthest corner of a local textile store, I found a couple of bolts of dusty openwork patterned knits. The pattern had unusually large holes, which is hard to find these days. As I re-entered the store, I was thinking about my boys with their iPads sitting on the ugly sofas of the residence. In that moment I had a great idea of redressing the sofas. I ended up buying a bolt of lace pattern instead of traditional Scottish fabrics. I am familiar with rag rug strips as material as well as with sports fabrics. This is all about combining those. The strips are knit to a stretchy net that can be flexed over any three-dimensional object.

What are the objectives of Ragamuf?

With Ragamuf, you can give a new life to an ugly or well-worn chair or lounger. Usually the most well-worn chair is the best-loved. Technology provides mercy. The long fringes dissolve the pattern so that the smallest details or errors do not catch the eye. The result is safe and sympathetic much like a soft toy or a pet.

How did you end up with this product in particular?

It combines the interests of both myself and Martta. Due to the Syrians’ situation in Turkey it felt natural to start work there. Martta was living in Turkey with her family and thus had local contacts, and she was familiar with humanitary work due to her old job at Finn Church Aid. My idea for the sofa rugs needed an enabler and makers. Pieces just fell into their places.

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