I know I am passionate about my project when on the hottest summer day in June I pumped up the air conditioner and took a ride over the Brooklyn Bridge to visit fashion designer JoAnn Berman. And I am so glad that I did! It felt as if I had known JoAnn forever, as we laughed and shared stories around fabric and fashion that dates back to our past 20 years in the industry.
Meet JoAnn Berman, whose gorgeous one of a kind design work has been so gracefully received by the high-end public and the press. In a process known as UPCYCLING, JoAnn converts high-end vintage materials into new fashion designs of better quality and higher environmental value. The term upcycling was used by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Here they state that the goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting useful materials by making use of existing ones. This reduces the consumption of new raw materials and reduces energy usage.
JoAnn feels that using vintage is more appealing to her design sensibility than buying new eco textiles – She said “you get the most incredible fabric when I can utilize my beautiful draping skills. I have created a vintage library from all over the world, developed over 25 years of research, searching flee markets, and collecting from people in the fabric business.”
Let’s dig in! WOW – I was so excited to select just a few great fall styles for you…Contact me directly to reserve your piece.
The Joni Mitchell Jacket - One of her most iconic pieces, this blazer style is made from vintage suede and fabric trim from Guatemala. JoAnn calls this her "hippie boho-luxe" piece. The colors are a deep rich caramel with washed metallic bronze. The scooped neckline and floral motif gives a softness to the piece, making it feel dainty and feminine. The sleeves have a tiny puff, which adds a little shoulder to balance the silhouette. Wear it with a basic tee or tank, jeans and brown boots for a really chic look. Retail Price $575.00
My Father, My Hero - A Capelet. Made of loden green boiled wool, with a leather collar and print lining made visable through the armholes. A rugged feel with a feminine utility, JoAnn refers to this great piece as "My Father, My Hero" - named after her father who was a WWII veteran and an olympic swimmer. JoAnn turns military chic into a very wearable "utility" trend. Retail price $550.00
The Natural NORDIC Azzadine - Reminiscent of the knitwear in the 90's, the vintage cotton knit sleeveless tunic can be worn as a sweater or as a dress with leggings. Inspired by the look of Azzadine Alaia, JoAnn designed this piece to define the body, showing off every curve. It also features a smoothly scooped front and back. The nordic pattern is a fall classic and can be worn with a great natural colored sweater coat to top it of. (I'm already pairing it with a taupe cardigan from Ciel, that you will see below...). Retail price $350.00
COUTURE for Pure Thread - I asked JoAnn to make something really quite special for the PureThread client in mind. We selected a Navaho woven pattern in grey and chocolate brown with a thread of lime green running throughout the pattern (a reminder to continually "green" our fashion choices!). We both thought that this piece of fabric would make a wonderful sweater cardigan for the fall, so JoAnn quickly grabbed a grey sweater cape form the 1980's, which details a stockinette stitch (a stitch that women used to knit socks in the 1800's) and said "and this will be the hood". The finished product will arrive in September - Our Couture Design, exclusively for the PureThread client. Retail price $550.00
This is JoAnn, throwing the sweater over her shoulder as if to form the hood.