by Emmanuel Olunkwa

A vintage Monopoly set, 1970s equestrian rosettes, 1920s bedroom curtains, and baby quilts made from feed-sack scraps are all part of the historical patchwork that designer Emily Adams Bode Aujla weaves into her one-of-a-kind handcrafted garments. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Bode Aujla’s interest in American antiques was sparked by her family — her mother’s father was an antique collector, and she grew up going to flea markets, antique stores, and auctions with her mother and her aunts. Her reverence for the history of objects grounds the process behind her namesake brand, launched in 2016, where traditionally female-centric techniques, including quilting, mending, and appliqué, are applied to a thoroughly modern vision of menswear. In what you could call adaptive reuse, Victorian quilts, bed linens, and grain sacks become boxy jackets and gauzy shirts. Furniture and interiors are equally important in Bode Aujla’s world-building, as evidenced by her long-standing collaboration with her now-husband Aaron Aujla, one-half of narrative-driven design studio Green River Project, which built the sets for her collections and the interiors of the Bode flagship stores in New York and Los Angeles. Once again, the references are eclectic and familiar: the dark wood of natural-history museums, Southern-Californian bureaucratic design, and that warm feeling of mid-century American hotel lobbies. Hailed at the CFDA Fashion Awards as 2022’s American Menswear Designer of the Year, Bode Aujla is a major force in reshaping the legacy of American craft.