Jhane Barnes didn’t think of herself as a fashion pioneer when, a decade after starting her career, she hooked up her Atari home computer to a hand-weaving loom and figured out how to make the system automatically operate her manual machinery. Later, she scanned abstract photos and manipulated them on the computer to create colorful patterns she would eventually hand-weave into fanciful men’s shirts. Fast forward to now, and this year, Barnes is celebrating her 30th anniversary as the first female fashion designer to succeed in menswear.
Over the decades, she has put her signature — not to mention colorful and extravagant — hand-weaves on everything from men’s shirts and sweaters to home textiles, furniture, carpets, and bedding. Her newest line includes a four-piece Exclusive collection, comprising a single tailored jacket, sweater, shirt, and pair of slacks, all developed using Barnes’s proprietary color treatments and weaving techniques. The four-piece line is available only to the designer’s online shoppers, hence the label name.
Likewise, this season Barnes is focusing on her first collection of upscale denim under the newly launched Barnestorm label. And as with everything she touches, the fancy jeans-only line will incorporate a number of Barnes’s token details, including five-pocket jeans with a subtle striated color effect and a jacket made of shaved cowhide applied to stretch denim and later washed for an altogether new take on an old-time favorite.
Jhane Barnes, (212) 575-2448, www.jhanebarnes.com