Joan Vass, 1987

Vass made her reputation with crochets and handmade or handloomed knits, and imaginative, functional clothes in simplified shapes and subtle colorings, usually in her preferred natural fibers. She is recognized by retailers and the press as a highly creative, original designer. From the beginning, her aim has been to make modern clothes for modern women and men.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, majoring in philosophy, she did graduate work in aesthetics, was curator at the Museum of Modern Art, an editor at Harry N. Abrams, publisher of art books. With no formal fashion training, she got into designing in the early 1970’s when two of her concerns intersected.

First, she was bothered by the plight of women with salable skills but no way to sell them– specifically, women who either could not work away from home or did not want the confinement of offices or factories. Second, she was convinced there was a market for handmade articles of good quality.

– ANNE STAGEMEYER for Fairchild Publications’s WHO’S WHO IN FASHION, 2nd edition


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