11th August 2023

At a time when fast fashion has become all too common, American fashion designer Emily Adams Bode Aujla is setting a completely different pace in the fashion world.

Emily’s brand, Bode, has become famous for tailor-made pieces that employ traditions of quilting, mending and appliqué. Her collections feature pieces from bygone eras where shirts are fashioned from hand-mended French linens, coats are cut from timeworn quilts or mid-century tartan blankets, and overshirts are made from coverlets. 

Emily has built Bode with the intention of preserving American traditions through her small collections. As a result, it’s been said that ‘Thumbing through a rack of Bode clothing brings to mind the sense of curiosity and discovery you might feel when sifting through a grandparent’s attic or a tucked-away antique shop in an unfamiliar city. You can perceive echoes of a romantic old way of living.’ (Samuel Hine, ‘The Making of the Next Great American Fashion Designer’)

Emily credits an early interest in collecting and antiquing to her mother and great aunts, and as such feels an intrinsic value to vintage clothing. Consequently, Bode was founded in 2016 with the belief that ‘clothing is meant to be worn and cherished’. As the brand continued to grow, however, it became apparent that the use of vintage fabrics would limit the scalability of the business, and so Emily began the process of developing her own range of textiles.

Whilst it became clear that the newly woven fabric ‘could replicate priceless antiques with better workmanship’, Emily has vowed to keep runs small so as to ‘stay true to the collectability and rarity of the original objects’. Emily’s goal is to ‘encourage people to get back to wanting to repair and alter and make clothes and appreciate them and preserve them.

To think of every garment they buy as a potential heirloom.’

As a self-confessed ‘organised hoarder’, Emily has amassed an enviable assortment of vintage textiles. Bode’s collection now boasts hundreds of rugs, 800 embroidered French linens from the 1920s, 1,200 mid-century tablecloths, 2,000 quilts (some from as early as the 1840s), more than 2,500 bolts of vintage wool suiting fabric, and a million antique American pearl buttons. Now that’s quite the stash!

As with Mourne Textiles that we wrote about in ASU #389, we love that at Emily’s hand, Bode is ensuring the legacy of needle and thread will live on into the next generation as they find themselves appreciating the textile traditions of generations past.

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