25 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE
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,
3 - Paula in mink - This hand knit
natural mink and leather dolman sleeve sweater was photographed
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
6 - Bill in sweater - Bill Lishman
in a hand knit rabbit pullover with Paula’s famous