Meet Joan Reuning at Fibers
Fashion designer, entrepreneur, musician, and more
For those who enjoy a bit (or a lot) of style that makes a statement in their life, you must meet Joan Reuning, an extremely talented fashion designer. She has more than 30 years of experience handcrafting stylish garments for women.
Reuning is the proud owner of Fibers, a boutique known for its unique variety of contemporary silk-screened women’s jackets — each designed and handcrafted by Reuning.
“I’ve been sewing for a very long time and still enjoy it,” says Reuning, now in her 80s. “For me, the enjoyment comes from the creative process — making fun garments, eye-catching garments that look good as the person is approaching and walking away from you. Plus, I enjoy the people I have the privilege to meet through the store, including our team of strong, creative women.”
In addition to Joan’s creations, Fibers sells a selection of colorful pashmina shawls, handmade jewelry, scarves, and other accessories created by Connie Shipos, Joan’s business partner for the past 20 years. Fibers also carry personalized youth streetwear handmade by Katie McMillen, a new designer and an associate at the shop.
“We are a women-owned business offering one-of-a-kind creations. We’re dedicated to styling their customers in beautiful outfits and choosing color palettes that complement their ways of life,” says Joan.
Though Joan loves to chat about her passion for garment making, she is equally passionate about music.
Joan is an accomplished violinist. She studied at Rochester University’s Eastman School of Music, an institution long regarded as one of the world’s premiere schools of music before earning her master’s degree at the University of Illinois. Along with her husband Sandy, they were pioneers of the Suzuki method (pairing music teaching with philosophy).
Her love for playing the violin and desire to further encourage the use of the Suzuki method among others who share her passion led her to become a violin and viola instructor at Ithaca College. The couple then took their love of music to the next level by opening a music school, Ithaca Talent Education School, where Joan taught full time until retiring at age 50 and turning her creative energy into opening her store.
“I have loved music and art my whole life and continue to pursue music as a piano accompanist, but I have more fully dedicated my energy to my creations and my store, Fibers, more recently. We are also very proud of all the items we made. We’re excited to showcase them in our big new space in the Dewitt Mall that will provide comfort to shoppers while maintaining safety in these uncertain times,” says Joan.
When Joan isn’t busy managing her shop, you can find her baking, sewing, silk screening, knitting, or weaving on her loom. She also enjoys time with her family, especially her grandchildren.
You can learn more about Fibers and Joan by visiting the shop or check out its Facebook page, facebook.com/fibersithaca.