House of Aama is a culturally inspired lifestyle brand rooted in the ethos of the African continent and diaspora. The seed for House of Aama has been sowing for some time now and is just now manifesting in physical form due to the joint efforts of mother and daughter duo, Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka. Rebecca, the mother of the duo is an attorney in private practice by trade but artistically oriented in nature with sewing, quilting and art hobbies. Akua, the daughter of the duo is a student at Parsons The New School for Design in Manhattan, New York. Akua was exposed early in life to her mom and dad’s entrepreneurial enterprises, artistic leanings and culturally based lifestyle (Akua’s dad, Jamaiel Shabaka is an avant garde jazz musician and drummer). In 2013, Akua and Rebecca became so frustrated with their collective inability to find clothes resonating with their cultural and aesthetic interests that they began making their own clothes and modified vintage clothes in an effort to match their outer sartorial expression with their inner yearnings. Akua’s friends became interested in her clothes and in response the duo began making simple items for sale, such as culturally adorned cut off shorts and t-shirts with African fabric sleeves. The mother and daughter team realized that a niche market existed for modern, contemporary cultural wares and thus House of Aama was founded. Soon thereafter, the duo began experimenting with original designs reflective of their individual and collective cultural influences. This experimentation led to the birth of the youth oriented Urban Nomad capsule collection. Urban Nomad was geared toward the modern savvy youth consumer who wished to identify with an African ethos and express this interest in clothing and life style choices. In keeping with this Afrian ethos, fabric and motif selections for the Urban Nomad collection drew from West African Ashanti, Ghanaian Kente Cloth and Adinkra symbols and East African Maasai, Kenyan tartan plaid fabrics. In 2015, House of Aama partnered with Senegalese artist , Bassirou Seck. Rebecca and Akua were motivated by a desire to form a relationship with African Artisans in the development of House of Aama products and also to provide a commercial platform for African wares. The collaborative project consisted of Unisex Men and Women’s shirts, pants and traditional woven Senegalese baskets. A portion of the proceeds were shared with the Senegalese Artist. House of Aama is committed to continue its partnership with Mr. Seck and forging additional symbiotic commercial relationship with African artisans.
House of Aama is currently debuting their rebranded adult AW’17 collection, "BLOODROOT". “BLOOD ROOT is a rare herb used by old-time conjures and root workers as a powerful Guardian for the Family. House of Aama’s AW’17 BLOODROOT collection is an ode to Southern Creole spiritually and African Roots. Hidden in plain sight, these are the tales of a Rootworker, Southern Lady and Bluesman.”
Our designs are reflective of the PostBellum Southern United States. We’re inspired by this earlier time period because we believe it’s tremendously significant and critical in black culture. This was a time when our ancestors had been emancipated from slavery and they were striving to claim their rightful place with forward determination and dignity. These designs are meant to convey a strong sense of self worth built on the retention of strong cultural traditions. Rebecca’s maternal grandmother used to give her bloodroot daily as a child as a medicinal tincture in Louisiana. As a child, she did not know what bloodroot was but later as an adult she learned that bloodroot is a rootsworker herb and that her family has a rootsworker legacy. Our creative direction is drawn from the Southern experiences of Southern Parlor ladies, Conjurer women and blues men and their intersections.
We hope that Bloodroot conveys to people of color the strength and resilience of the experience of African people in the Southern United States and that this strength and resilience can be conveyed in a sartorial artistic medium. Our collection, Bloodroot is an offering.