“Johanna Howard, recently launched her company, Johanna Howard Home & Accessories. The collection consists of sustainable, fair trade, luxury alpaca pillows, throws and accessories.
Howard developed her passion for fabric and color as head textiles developer for Katayone Adeli (founder of Parallel and Katayone Adeli) and went on to design for BCBG, Express and Gap INC. But the disposable, fast-fashion culture of some of these companies left Howard longing to make " something gorgeous, lasting and sustainable."
Howard was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, where her mother owned a custom-clothing atelier, where everything from silk gowns to hand knitted sweater coats was made. " I spent lots of time with my mom going to fabric stores buying beautiful textiles and pouring over fashion magazines as a kid. I got to see and experience how custom made garments were made from start to finish. It had a huge influence on me and it clearly steered me into pursuing a career in fashion. I still love and appreciate things that are handmade or has a tradition behind it. This marriage of artisan quality and unique design continues to inspire and define my aesthetic." The influences for Howard's collection range from the latest runway shows to the "hairy" knitted jackets her mother makes, the inspiration for Howard's "Beast Pillows."
Howard fell in love with alpaca and "it's amazing properties and possibilities," during a trip to Lima, Peru. Alpaca is an incredibly warm, soft and insulating fiber. It is hypoallergenic and makes it suitable for babies and people with sensitive skin to wear and use. The fiber is also extremely strong and long lasting and does not pill or ball like cashmere or wool She says, "My products marry the rich traditions of Peruvian artisan knitters and weavers with my passion for beautiful colors and innovative textile design."
Social-responsibility and sustainability are cornerstone values of Johanna Howard Home & Accessories. Alpaca fleece is sustainable, with a very low environmental impact (alpaca do not damage their grazing land the way sheep do). All products are made by small, family-owned businesses that employ artisans who utilize generations of hand-knitting and weaving tradition to support their families and communities. All Johanna Howard Home & Accessories products are certified fair trade.