At a young age, Jan Stimpson could be found sewing dolls clothes under the watchful eyes of her grandmother, a love of sewing that led to her first career as a fabric merchant. In 1977, Jan opened Moodyville Cotton and Canvas in the historic area of Moodyville, in North Vancouver. The stiff, dry-clean only fabrics of the 70's dictated structured fashions. This did not go unnoticed by Jan and in 1980 she introduced a groundbreaking collection of washable silk designs under the "Harmony" label. Featured in the Expo '86 Fashion Show, these early designs relied on sumptuous fabrication, drape, easy wear and care; the foundation of a trademark style that continues to evolve.
Two retail stores introduced a wider circle of women to the notion that style was more about positive self-image and less about the unrealistic beauty standards projected in the media. The popularity of the harmony collections proved that fashion could go hand-in-hand with comfort.
As Jan's family grew, so did her fashion challenges and in 1987 a new label, "Chaos for Kids", was launched. The toddler children's clothing line mixed explosive primary colours with fun, progressive design. Soon after launching Chaos the Government of BC invited Jan to represent Canada as one of five top designers in the Canadian Product Showcase in Osaka, Japan.
Never one to stand still, in 1992 Jan launched a collection of wearable art named Revival. The highly original pieces were constructed from vintage textiles, heirloom appliqués and closures. The 'one-of-a-kinds' were soon a sought after collectible. As a compliment to Revival, Krakers, a witty upscale novelty line, was developed and distributed across North America.
Jan's designs have consistently reflected her philosophy. For over thirty years Jan has created comfortable and versatile fashion that embraces the diversity of the female figure.
"I've become aware of this shift towards women and positive images. When we are comfortable with ourselves, we can accomplish anything."
"We are all different and often feel different within ourselves at different times. I want to be able to help women achieve comfort and style no matter what occasion arises. I want women to feel comfy, gorgeous and empowered!"
Sympli, Jan's newest label was born out of frustration. "My personal journey with age, fashion, and body image led me to create Sympli. It was never an idea; it was a necessity." the challenge became clear "many women were not able to enjoy the same luxury of more forgiving dressing." As body awareness became more popular so did form fitting styling and the 'fashion world' forgot a lot of eager women longing for clothing that fit. "In women's hectic lives, fashions that deliver comfort and simplicity are liberating. I want women to feel good about what they wear and at the same time, grateful for their unique bodies."
Jan Stimpson is a two-time winner of the prestigious Matinee Fashion Foundation Award for Excellence. Her current collection, Sympli, is designed and manufactured in Vancouver, BC and wholesaled across North America to over 800 retail stores.