Rare grail talk with Emily Bode
5 fire joints from the BODE HEIRLOOM VAULT
Emily Adams Bode is a YUNG GOAT who raises the bar on her own extremely dope s**t, season after season. Since 2016 she’s designed clothes under her label BODE, which embodies several CORE TENETS we f**k with heavy at Blackbird Spyplane: her pieces are beautifully idiosyncratic (and, at this point, much-imitated); hand-crafted in small numbers; and imbued with their own unique histories….
A couple BODE FW20 looks
BBSP co-pilot Erin first put us on to BODE back in like 2017 … we f**ked instantaneously w/ Emily’s eye for unlikely patterns & her gift for re-purposing fabrics originally intended for domestic use — tablecloths, flour sacks, coverlets — into fun, high-level jawnz …
Blackbird Spyplane (above left), Jay Z (above right) and Kendrick Lamar (below): 3 legends who got papped while casually enjoying FRESH BODE garments & also being great rappers
Since Blackbird Spyplane is the no. 1 source across all media for “unbeatable recon” on dope under-the-radar joints, the other day we asked Emily to tell us about some rare possessions from her own personal BODE-VAULT … She hit us back with photos of 5 fire knits: “Instead of picking 1 thing, I thought it would be nice to talk about these as a collection, because that’s how I’ve lived with them,” she said. “Every time I think about items that define me, it’s been this grouping.” We got her on the horn 2 find out more …
Blackbird Spyplane: These r all sick. Which one do u wanna start with?
Emily Adams Bode: “So, all these sweaters defined my aesthetic. To bring it back to the beginning, they’re all my mother’s, and two of them were her mother’s, originally. I have a photo of my grandmother at the Worcester, Mass., Country Club, in 1969, with my grandfather and a friend, and she’s wearing the navy cardigan, so we can start with that one. The sweater is so tiny, I remember asking my mom, Did you ever actually wear this? She said, Yes, but not for long — high school and early on in college. That’s exactly when I wore it, too.
Emily’s grandmother DRIPPING in the appliqué cardi in 1969
“It’s a machine knit and doesn’t have any closure, so I wonder if someone made it for her. I don’t know where she got it. It has these diamond appliqués on it — they’re like a canvas netting, cut and embroidered on to the knit. I’ve always loved this one because it’s so graphic — it’s a really fun design.”
“The other one that was my grandmother’s was this red ski sweater — this came with me when I went to Canada at the start of the pandemic. If my house is burning, this is the sweater I grab. My grandmother bought this in the ‘60s from a ski shop — it was her wool ski sweater. My mom and her sisters talk about these ski trips which were a huge part of their childhood — they had lifelong passes to this mountain within driving distance of Worcester, probably Vermont. Technically I think they owned part of the mountain. So they’d go wool-sweater shopping at this shop with these wonderful Nordic sweaters — it’s extremely well made. I wear it more by far than any other garment I own, to the point that I’m terrified of over-wearing it. I have pictures of myself freshman, sophomore year in this sweater. It’s been part of my identity forever.
“It’s a rib knit and the direction of the stitch is inverse at the edges, so it’s not the easiest sweater to replicate — I’ve tried to do it. The weight of the yarn is so magical, this is the first time, coming back from Canada, that I’m seeing it wear and thinking, ‘Oh I’ve been wearing this too much.’
“But I have a very practical understanding of clothes: They’re made to be worn — that might be counterintuitive to what ppl might think about BODE, because it’s often these antique materials, and they might think it’s precious. But to me it’s all about mending it when you need to, and realizing that if you don’t actually wear it you don’t cherish it quite the same way. You’re not gaining much seeing it hanging in your closet — your deeper understanding of aesthetics and who you are comes from using objects. You can’t be scared to wear something.”
Blackbird Spyplane: The first BODE joint I copped was one of the shirts u made from ‘50s-era African indigo-dyed cloth (above left). It’s got all these mended details on it, and over time I’ve had to re-sew a button and re-sew a seam that started opening up, which strikes me as all part of the antique charm…
Bode: “We offer repairs at the shop because, yeah, buttons come off and seams tear and lace comes undone — I believe in mending your clothes because it only makes them more interesting. You get a stain and you darn over it. It adds value to the garment because it’s actually been lived in. It looks like it has a narrative that’s intrinsic to the fabric itself.”
“These two are both my mom’s, and they’re Peruvian. When she was at college she had a boyfriend named Talo — they dated for 2 years, so these are from around 1976. Talo brought these to Boston from Lima, where he was from. I probably wore the pullover most right out of college. It’s got moth holes — I don’t know if that happened in my old apartment or if they were there when I got them. My mom kept these in our basement — she had this really cool walk-in closet in our childhood home where I used to play hide-and-seek. There were all these nooks where I could sit under the clothes and these cubbies I could fit into. I think about that closet a lot — my mom’s such a collector. There were days when we’d go into the closet together and spend hours just going through it. I still do that today with friends and my fiancé, pulling out different things, giving stuff to friends…
“We actually make a lot of our knits and crochets for BODE in Peru — some in India but mostly in Peru. We work with collectives of female knitters there, working to preserve the craft that’s specific to their community…”
Blackbird Spyplane: This one’s a beauty.
Bode: “It’s the only sweater I’ve successful re-created. It’s from Nepal — my mom bought it in 1982 when she was there. My parents, before they were married, a few years after college, they went & climbed 19,000 feet up Everest and went to Katmandu for about 4 months.
“It’s quite cool — you tie up the closures and the whole sweater wraps around you. We changed the fit a little bit for modern-day, made it so you can wear it as an open cardigan. But my favorite thing is these little tassels that you tie, and there’s two more on the inside. The whole piece crisscrosses, and there’s a little hidden pocket peeking out. It’s so warm, and the purples in it are so beatuiful, the sea-foam green is one of my favorite colors. I’m assuming they used bugs to dye the yarns, especially to get the purple tones.
“This one truly helped define my entire aesthetic and how and what I design.”
Left, the Nepalese wrap-sweater as recreated for BODE FW19; right, Emily waves goodbye to you, the beautiful BBSP reader, as this interview wraps tf up !!!
Blackbird Spyplane: In what ways?
Bode: “Our aim is the preservation of craft. I collect out of the fear of loss of craft or loss of memories, whether it’s family memories or a craft being forgotten. So a lot of times what I reproduce and re-create are things that are so rare or have a beautiful narrative that I want to share with others, whether it’s a hand-painted silk handkerchief someone bought as a souvenir in New York or these souvenir WWII tablecloths soldiers bought when they were stationed abroad — those shirts have been BODE staples. I used to sell them as one-of-a-kinds but I love recreating them, too, because then I can do colors like teals and pinks and blues. So much of Bode is inspired by domestic textiles. Many of these were made by women for the home and there’s a real sense of emotion that’s part of the fabric and the use of the cloth — that’s why my clothes can sometimes feel so relatively feminine for menswear, because there’s that female hand in it.”
-Bode’s website is here
-Bode’s NYC store just re-opened, at 58 Hester St.
-Bode’s on Instagram here and Emily’s on Instagram here
-We put a few Bode joints — and a couple secondhand sweaters inspired by her picks — in the Blackbird SpyMall
-If yr a Bode fan u should smash the subscribe button on our Cla$$ified Recon tier because we have some paywalled HEAT coming Thursday that u will f** with
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