Paula Lishman began her design career out of necessity. Being over six feet tall, she found it difficult to find styles to fit. As a result, she began to design and sew patterns, spin and vegetable dye yarns, weave fabric, and silk screen print, all resulting in a fashionable wardrobe of unique garments.

She began working with leather in the early 1970s and made clothing for herself, her family, and a growing list of clients. Paula she began cutting leather scraps into thin strips [she still hates throwing anything away]  and then knit them into fabric.

Realizing fur was just leather with hair, she experimented with some rabbit pelts and came up with a hand knitting technique that generated a beautiful, double-faced fur fabric which is breathable and soft.

Through constant refinements of this basic technique, Paula and her company have taken the fur industry in an inventive new direction.

The early years
Photos from the first 5 years.

Many of Paula’s original pieces are still being worn today. Her early creations with different fur types show remarkable style and functionality. These originals were all knit by hand. Photographs often included work by her husband Bill Lishman, whose story was the basis for the Columbia Pictures film Fly Away Home.

1 - Paula in blouse with crochet leather - Paula wearing an early piece of her work -- a toreador jacket with crochet deer skin detail.

2 - Paula with boar - If you look carefully, you can see the shadow of the flowers on Paula’s shirt. This image conveys both the flexibility and strength of her new fur fabric. This picture was used for an advertisement in Vogue magazine, August 1980.

3 - Paula in mink - This hand knit natural mink and leather dolman sleeve sweater was photographed in Montreal.

4 - Paula in B&W shawl - Paula in one of her early hand-knit beaver shawls, showing one of the many ways to wear it.

5 - Paula with dragonfly - This hand knit raccoon jacket was shaped by carving the fur with hair dressing shears, and features one of Bill Lishman’s sculptures. This picture was also featured in a Vogue advertisement.

6 - Bill in sweater - Bill Lishman in a hand knit rabbit pullover with Paula’s famous tube hat.


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