HOUSE OF AAMA
House of Aama Reimagines Its Bloodroot Connections for A/W 2022
As Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka created the Autumn/Winter 2022 Bloodroot: Into the Archives collection for House of Aama, they were inspired by their previous work on the Autumn/Winter 2017 Bloodroot collection. Released during the week of Nov. 7, the Bloodroot: Into the Archives collection allowed the mother-daughter designers to revisit the foundation of their Los Angeles–manufactured and –sourced brand, which required them to look inward to the roots of their family, which can be traced back to African-American Louisiana root workers.
“House of Aama’s mission is to explore the folkways of the Black experience by designing timeless garments with nostalgic references informed by historical research, archival analysis and storytelling,” said Henry and Shabaka. “We aim to evoke dialogue, social commentary and conversations around heritage and remembrance and to shed light on nuanced histories.”
Within the five years that have passed between the Bloodroot collections, House of Aama experienced a surge in success. The fashion house has shown at New York Fashion Week and developed Silhouettes Collectibles, a departure from its elegant pieces in luxurious fabrications into a more-affordable, comfortable collection of 100 percent–cotton hoodies and T-shirts plus tote bags created from recycled materials.
The Salt Water Spring/Summer 2022 collection explored the history of Black resort communities in the United States during the early 20th century. The women presented the collection through the lens of the fictional Camp Aama, their own vision of these historical enclaves whose stories often go untold.
“After our very artisanal Salt Water ’22 Collection, we wanted to introduce our new, expanded audience to our Heritage Bloodroot collection with our core silhouettes in new colors and fabrications,” the designers explained.
Both Bloodroot collections are centered on nostalgia for Henry and Shabaka’s ancestors, who viewed the rare bloodroot herb as a guardian. Revisiting the origins of 2017’s Bloodroot allowed the women to not only reconnect to the important elements of their family history but also to develop their own deeper design story.
“It also reconnected us to our core archetypes of the root worker, Southern lady and bluesman,” noted Henry and Shabaka. “The Bloodroot: Into the Archives collection displays our core silhouettes and folklore narrative based on the original Heritage Bloodroot collection. The Bloodroot collection is an homage to our Southern maternal legacy and an ode to Creole spirituality and diasporic roots hidden in plain sight.”
For 2022’s Bloodroot: Into the Archives collection, Henry and Shabaka introduced a Lumber Jacket and Pants in denim. The set features Western details with a wide collar and pockets on the jacket, while pants feature a high waist and wide leg. A twill version of the Lumber set is available in brown and yellow. The tie-neck shirt was created in a fresh brown-and-green stripe.
Classic styles from the 2017 Bloodroot collection include the Pussybow shirt, which was reimagined as the Rebecca Pussybow dress in silk charmeuse and embroidered silk dupioni. Halter and skirt sets were designed in pink and brown silk dupioni and a tan-crème jacquard.
The Oya Palazzo jumper is featured in a new tan and green cotton voile print. A coat featuring a white faux-fur bodice and cuffs stands out with a multicolor-floral-brocade collar and sleeves. The same primarily lime and coral brocade is featured in suiting comprised of a duster coat and high-waist pants.
The Southern Girl Victorian Dress was reintroduced in gothic black, peach, baby blue and mint hues in a Swiss-dot silk organza and chiffon. The Ogun Military Jacket and Pants were redone in tan-crème jacquard that features a floating-cherub detail. This design was also created in a brown-and-blue-paisley corduroy.
“We remain committed to our mission and realized with our artisanal Salt Water ’22 Collection that we can tell many stories based on the centralized Heritage Bloodroot story,” explained Henry and Shabaka. “The Bloodroot story lives throughout our other collections and serves as our foundation story; thus, it only made sense to develop Bloodroot: Into the Archives for a new audience for Fall/Winter ’22.”
Next for House of Aama is a collection for NYFW in February, where the designers will introduce new silhouettes in an updated palette with fresh fabrications. House of Aama’s Bloodroot: Into the Archives collection is available at houseofaama.com.