on the beat | May 9, 2019 |
A feminist touch: These fabrics were inspired by famous female pioneers

The inspiration behind textiles brand Aimee LaCalle’s fourth fabric collection is strong, pioneering women from Savannah, “a city at once bold and delicate,” founder Aimee LaCalle tells Business of Home. “This juxtaposition of strength and delicacy is the driving force behind our collection and desire to share stories of present and past women’s contributions to Savannah.”

Bedding from Aimee LaCalle's Savannah collection inspired by aviator Helen Wyatt Snapp
Bedding from Aimee LaCalle’s Savannah collection inspired by aviator Helen Wyatt SnappCourtesy of Aimee LaCalle

Before launching the brand in 2017, LaCalle was an audiologist. She made the switch to fabric after years of living and traveling in different countries with her husband and two sons, settling into three family homes in their favorite spots: Santa Fe, New Mexico; San Miguel de Allende in Mexico; and the Dordogne Valley in France. From living in those places came the idea of the textile company and its first three collections, each named for one of their hometowns. “There were certain criteria we were looking for in these locations: a strong cultural identity with historical preservation measures in place to protect the area; architecture designed for the local environment; and access to nature, art, craft and organic food.”

The Mary, a part of the Savannah collection
The Mary, a part of the Savannah collectionCourtesy of Aimee LaCalle

After running out of hometowns, Savannah was next. LaCalle and her team fell in love with the city's rich architecture, history and culture. The motifs in the collection are named after local pioneers including Native American translator Mary Musgrove, early settler Abigail Minis, Girl Scouts founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, author Flannery O’Connor, aviator Helen Wyatt Snapp, and Mother Mathilda Beasley, Georgia’s first African-American nun. Musgrove, for example, was a cultural liaison between natives and colonists in the early 1700s; LaCalle represented that connection with silhouettes of a magnolia tree. “This awareness that comes from living on the road, traveling and being an expatriate for periods of time, allowed me to see these locations as sources of inspiration. … We wanted to find a space [like Savannah] where the communities were connected to their environment and their roots.”

Aimee LaCalle
Aimee LaCalleCourtesy of Aimee LaCalle

Sustainability is a key feature of the brand. Each product is digitally engineered and custom-printed with water-based ink. (It’s free of plastic and heavy metals, safe for babies to use, and both biodegradable and recyclable.) In LaCalle’s lookbooks, she showcases how each collection came to be, including photographs of each local artisan she interviewed and their work.

LaCalle is also currently developing a philanthropic branch of the company, working with some of the communities they’ve grown attached to, including Savannah and Santa Fe. “I’m a firm believer that you can design your own life, and you can view life through a different lens,” says LaCalle. “I hope to keep encouraging others to do the same.”

LaCalle will keep modeling how curiosity and the drive to explore can manifest success. “I’ll always be grateful for the fact that we just went out there and did it,” says LaCalle. “We tried it, asked those questions, made connections with new people and cultures, and were curious. … You don’t know what’s waiting for you.”

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