About

Oil paintingBarbara Wells Studio is a Pittsburgh-based company that makes some of the finest knitwear on this amazing planet we call home. It all started back on the south side of Chicago where Barbara was studying architecture. Through a whole series of seemingly unrelated events, in 1981, she wound up marrying a guy named James and moved to Pittsburgh where she received her degree in Studio Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating, she established herself as successful painter and printmaker, exhibiting nationally, with works in corporate, private and museum collections.

A Creative Shift

As time went on, Barbara continued to explore new art mediums, including fiber and fabric. Initially, in about 1993, these were eye-catching abstract forms and volumes, rich in texture and colors. It was only a matter of time until the work evolved into one-of-a-kind painted fabric garments. A local store saw the pieces and immediately began carrying the painted garments. News of the garments spread by word of mouth, and within about a year, a handful of stores from Pittsburgh to the Jersey Shore were offering them. Momentum was building and Barbara began to shift her creative focus more towards wearable art.

Humble Beginings

The first sweatersAround 1995, some very close friends decided to leave their technical jobs in corporate America and set up a small knitting company named Knitworks. Intrigued by the available textures and ability to create her own silhouettes, Barbara placed a small contract with Knitworks for some uniquely-shaped sweaters that she had envisioned painting. The first pieces arrived as Barbara and James were leaving to vacation in Stone Harbor, NJ. As a last minute thought, they decided to take the five sweaters along to show to the owners of a small Stone Harbor boutique who at the time were carrying the painted fabric garments. When showing the garments to the owners, Barbara apologized that she hadn't had time to paint the knit sweaters, and explained that she brought them along to at least give an idea of the feel and shape. At that point, customers passing through the store noticed the sweaters lying on the counter and absolutely loved them. In about 15 minutes all of the sweaters had been sold, and Barbara Wells Studio fashion was born!

Nationally Recognized

A cluster of tagsAn insider’s label at first, and now a nationally recognized brand, the Studio has been thriving ever since! Barbara Wells Studio is now a part of Atelier, a group of inspired American designers who create unusual and unique clothing, accessories, and jewelry. Twice each year Barbara shows with Atelier in New York City during fashion week. Boutiques from around the country come to explore the latest styles and place their orders for the coming season.

Abundant Versatility & Ageless Appeal

Although Barbara Wells Studio has grown significantly, we have maintained all of the style sense, superior quality, and customer service that you would expect of an individual artisan. The Studio's line continues to be heavily influenced by Barbara's beginnings in the field of architecture, and in particular Mies Van Der Rohe and the Bauhaus school of design; "form follows function and less is more" is her mantra. She strives to create refined designs with abundant versatility and ageless appeal. Style is defined by integrating the qualities and characteristics of fine materials with the human form. This approach results in an extremely elegant, yet understated, architectural line with clean shapes and distinctive details.

Commitment to Quality

Yarn in the studioEvery garment is individually produced in the United States using the finest and most innovative fibers available. Our skilled knitters utilize couture techniques and finishing methods to produce garments of unsurpassed quality. Our commitment to quality, love of fashion, and exceptional attention to details define our garments in today's marketplace.

Availability & Trunk Shows

The Barbara Wells Studio line is now available at fine boutiques throughout the United States. We'll be glad to help find one close to you. Simply call, or drop us a line using the Contact page of this web site. Barbara also attends a series of trunk shows every year. It's a wonderful opportunity for you to see the entire line. Barbara truly enjoys meeting everyone who attends and helping with personal selections. Check the Locations page of this web site for upcoming shows.

Thank You

Barbara and JamesWe would like to thank all of our wonderful customers for their loyalty, support and inspiration over the years. We have made many friends throughout this marvelous venture, and we look forward to making many more. Oh yea...about James... he’s still around, married to the girl of his dreams for over 36 years. He takes care of the bookkeeping, and occasionally writes little “history” pieces about Barbara and smiles.