Brand Spotlight: House of Aama
Powerful duos in the business world are forces to be reckoned with. Make it a mother and a daughter and suddenly you are dealing with a connection that surpasses friendship and talent: it is family. And when fashion runs in the family, the creativity and connections are unbeatable.
House of Aama was founded by a mother-daughter duo, and this strong connection and aesthetic is evident through the brand’s pieces and rich African culture.
Founded by mother and daughter Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka, House of Aama seeks to perpetuate the Black experience through the design of tangible, timeless garments interwoven with “historical research, archival analysis, and storytelling,” according to their website. Henry
and Shabaka not only aim to make beautiful and conscious pieces but also aim to create a dialogue and a social commentary around heritage and remembrance, as well as to make evident elements of history that are so often forgotten and not discussed. In its essence, it is a lifestyle brand with roots of the diaspora of Africa.
An attorney by trade, Henry, the mother of House of Aama, began enjoying quilting and sewing
as prominent hobbies in her life. Shabaka, the daughter of the duo, is a student at Parsons The New School of Design, and has continually been exposed and taught about artistic ventures
from both her mother and her father; her father being an avant-garde drummer by trade.
Frustrated by a lack of representation of their culture and personal aesthetics, Henry and Shabaka began to make their own clothes, as well as work off of vintage pieces to fit their fancy.
Friends and colleagues began to take an interest in their pieces and the cultural aspect they held.
They began putting pieces for sale, and organically, House of Aama was born. Their looks stemmed from their cultural influences, and eventually, a capsule collection entitled Urban
Nomad, a youth collection, came to fruition in 2014.
“[The brand utilizes] fabrics and motifs from West and East Africa such as Kente cloth, Adinkra symbols and tartan plaid prints,” Shabaka told Fashion in an interview.
Continuing with their goal to bring personal cultural influences into the pieces that they make, House of Aama began their partnership with Senegalese artist Bassirou Seck in 2015 in order to further their utilization of African ethos, fabrics, and motifs in their work, in addition to providing a proper tangible platform for African wares. They created Unisex, men’ and women's’ shirts and shared the proceeds with Seck himself. House of Aama has continued its partnership with Seck and uses this partnership as a metaphor for their support for creating symbolic relationships with
all African artists.
Their current collection, BLOODROOT AW’17 is an ode to Southern Creole spiritually and African Roots. Bloodroot is a rare herb used by old-time conjures and rootworkers as a
powerful guardian for the family, according to House of Aama. As well as culturally, BloodRoot carries personal significance to the creators of the House of Aama, specifically Henry. According to their website, Henry’s grandmother used to give Bloodroot daily to her as a child for use as a medical tincture. As she grew up, Henry learned the uses and the cultural and historical
significance that Bloodroot carries.
Riddled with passion and culture and heritage, House of Aama’s clothing features rich colors utilized in slacks, blouses, coats, and jumpsuits. These clothes are unique, and enable their
wearers to promote self-expression and historical patterns and dyes. House of Aama is also selling exquisite graphic totes and sweatshirts in a variety of colors as a part of their Silhouette
Collectibles venture; highlighting “the tradition of silhouettes from antiquity to the postbellum South.” On the more casual side, these totes and sweatshirts mesh seamlessly into the style
and vibe of the rest of House of Aama’s clothing.
House of Aama is making a name in high fashion, and rightfully so. Their striking, sophisticated pieces are beautiful to wear and are woven with history and culture; making the brand’s clients aware of their goals and messages. House of Aama’s rich influence combined with their sleek
designs surely make them one to watch and seek in the future of fashion.
By: Emily Goldberg