Judy’s “passion for fashion” goes back as long as she can remember. Her father, a fashion industry executive, taught her to sew at a young age. By 11, Judy knew she was destined to become a fashion designer.


In 1984, Judy graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University where she majored in fashion design. She also attended The London College of Fashion. From 1984 to 1988 she was the designer for a junior sportswear company. Her Job took her to Paris, St. Tropez, London, Milan, Amsterdam and Dusseldorf to research emerging fashion trends, which she interpreted for the North American market. She then traveled to Asia where the garments were manufactured. Month-long trips were made to destinations including Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Istanbul. A high point in Judy’s career was seeing her designs displayed in Macy’s Herald Square window in New York City.


After years of fast-paced life, Judy realized she needed to slow down and do some soul searching. As great as her job was, it did not offer her creative freedom. A chance meeting with Peter Joannou in 1986 led to love: marriage followed two years later. The couple settled in The Ottawa Valley. Peter realized his dream of building his own home and Judy established her company. Together they have built a business, which fulfills Judy’s need for creative freedom. It has introduced her to the selling end of the business, which she loves.

Getting to know the women who wear her clothes has filled the void she felt as a designer in industry. “In the fashion industry, my designs were a commodity that were bought and sold. It was about having the right item at the right price. Now I create collections that reflect me, what I think my customers will like, and what will look good on them. My customers are no longer Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Victoria’s Secret. They are Alice, Barb, Betty, Doris, Carole, Diane…”

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Judy Joannou Designs 2021