When I traveled to India

I found myself drawn to...

the detail and beauty of vintage dowry quilts. This fascination has now become the foundation for The Joanna John Collection located in Woodbury CT. Anyone with an interest in textiles - the purist or the fashionista will understand the magnetism of these dowry quilts from which most of our coats and jackets are made.

Traditionally, a quilt is given by the parents of the bride to their daughter on her wedding day. These quilts are meaningful in various ways. First, they are typically the only gift of value handed down from mother to daughter. Secondly,they are treasured as fine works of art, and in some cases, they become treasured family pieces that can be handed down to the next generation.

Historically, women made the quilts. It could be a mother and daughter, but most often a grandmothers and other close female family members joined the circle where they sat and worked slowly during the long process. As they pieced and sewed, they shared family stories. It is believed that during these sewing and embroidery sessions, the love that drew the group together was somehow transposed to the quilt. Their loving bond became spiritually imbued into the quilt.

Today, some of our admirers have described the resulting coats and jackets as "couture". Perhaps it is our intensely handmade combination of old and new that makes the textiles and ultimately the finished product so attractive. We strive to make clothing that is as treasured as the original dowry goods, objects that justify the "treasuring impulse" in all of us.

Each is one-of-a-Kind and reversible so you can SUIT YOUR MOOD.

The Joanna John Collection

Reopens in Woodbury CT

She sells more than just clothing and accessories, offering the community a chance to own a piece of textile art that is as individual as they are.

Ms. Narkis described the coats that epitomize her signature collection: "These jackets are all handmade and not mass-produced. My clients can personalize theier wardrobe and know that no one else will have that piece".

The seamstresses who make these jackets use heirloom cotton quilts that have taken on a unique texture from many washings over the years.

There are thousands of stitches across the fabric, which actually prevents puckering and adds a new dimension to the construction detiails such as welting, pockets and other sewing techniques that ensure a proper fit.

The clothing lines include sizes up to 5x and some of the larger sizes are bought by men.

"I was on Madison Avenue when I passed a beautiful window display. I saw one of my coats in there and just stopped for a while to relish the moment."

Joanna John Collection

now available online

Per the request of many friends who are also loyal customers, we have decided to honor their request and offer our unique pieces online.

Starting in 2021, our collection will be availabe for shoppers to purchase online and we will ship via sustainable, recyclable packaging around the world.

We thank you for shopping online and every package is reusable as a return package, making it easy for our loyal customers to make an exchange or return.

Always Stylish

with Vintage Indian Fabric Necklaces!

These necklaces are made from vintage Indian quilt remnants which are used to make our women’s  coats and jackets and children’s jackets.  Wonderful handbags are then made from  the leftover coat fabric and feature extraordinary details. Next come smart hand clutches and small change purses.  Last, but not least, come the beaded necklaces in a variety of lengths. NOTHING is ever thrown thrown away!  This “green” tradition of recycling harkens back to more than 700 years ago when thrifty Indians sewed together every piece of leftover fabric to make something useful and beautiful.

The astonishing color and pattern of the beads comes from the naturally faded fabrics, which give the necklace its vintage appeal.  Their texture is enhanced by the centuries-old Kantha stitchery.   Fun to wear by day, they can be worn casually.  Pile them on at night and you can be a Drama Queen!  WHAT’S YOUR MOOD?

One-of-a kind Caftan

from The joannajohn Collection

This one-of-a-kind caftan features one side with a classic Indian design, while the other has an equally attractive large floral pattern. The beauty of this particular caftan is that either side makes for a dramatic entrance in either winter or summer. The lightweight nature of the caftan allows for you to SUIT YOUR MOOD throughout any season. The caftan features pockets and comes in a dramatic length of 46″.

About

Joann Narkis

We have turned folk art into high fashion.

It was a trip to India, where I was dazzled by the vivid color combinations of women’s hand-stitched garments made from vintage dowry quilts, that became the inspiration for The joannajohn Collection.  These 100% cotton quilts have a rich color palette with unexpected pairings, as folk art often does. The quilting is achieved with tiny spaced rows of small KANTHA hand stitching which amplifies the texture. Each piece is HANDMADE, ONE-OF-A-KIND and REVERSIBLE.

Modernizing the coats and jackets to suit the American market became a first priority, accommodating sizes from XS to Plus Sizes.  An unexpected bonus was that men became interested in the larger sizes!  A children’s line of jackets for ages 1-12 quickly followed. Over the last four years, I have added more than a dozen styles to the jackets and coats.

Next came the accessories. I started with folk art cotton beaded necklaces of varying lengths followed by painted silk mala beaded necklaces.  Soon after I added a variety of colorful KANTHA scarves made from vintage sari silk.

In addition there is a selection of handbags made from the quilts which are fully reversible.

The collection is now available in exclusive retail shops, artisans’ galleries and museum shops throughout the United States.

Joann Narkis

JJC Blog

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