Iris Wang’s career has been an exemplified history of philosophy,
humility and a Zen-like approach to finding peace with art within the constraints of commercialized Western culture.
She has been an artist her entire life and a fabric designer for over 20 years. But only now does she say she is finally ready to design.
“I was always adamant to become a fine artist. I had a lot of questions about life and found all the answers in art and thinking about the art,” she says. “But when I got out of art school, there was no way to make a living, so I started to do
different kinds of jobs.”
Among them was a stint running a small flower shop, and another assisting an interior designer. Those odd jobs turned out to be vocational training for running
Brentano Fabrics, a business Wang founded in 1990. The company, headquartered in Chicago, has been growing steadily ever since.
“When I decided to do fabrics, I went to the Art Institute [in Chicago] and took a hand-weaving course,” she recalls. “I was very bold. I didn’t work for a fabric company first. I just went ahead and started a company.”