Drawing upon her education in philosophy and aesthetics, Joan Vass set out to work in the art world. Beginning as an assistant curator of drawing and prints at the Museum of Modern Art, she then went on to edit art tomes for Harry N. Abrams and was a contributing columnist for Art in America. It was during this time that Joan developed an interest in hand knits & crochets. She tapped into the skills of local women to produce her first designs. This collection, consisting of hats & mufflers, was bought by Henri Bendel, arbiter of fashion. It quickly sold out, changing Joan’s career from observer of art to creator of art.
Incorporated in 1977, her eponymous collection expanded into sweaters for both sexes. Using the same local artisans, the designs were unique, limited and beautifully crafted. Demand for Joan’s quirky unstructured knitwear grew during the 1980’s prompting large scale production at Signal Knitting Mills in South Carolina under the label Joan Vass USA. Currently, Joan Vass encompasses all the components of a complete wardrobe, while maintaining the authentic foundation of the brand remain the same with the use of fine fabrics, natural fibers and ageless designs.