Our Story

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a village called Evanston, there lived a girl named Denise. She loved to knit and knit and knit some more! So she knitted lots of pretty things to wear.

Denise loved to go to the flea markets (particularly in Paris) and look for old discarded items of whimsy. She bought vintage buttons, ribbons, patches, tattered clothing, broken jewelry, velvet birdies and extra-loved stuffed bunnies. She strung them together, shrunk them and cut them, or added ribbons, giving old things new lives.

One day her best friend in the whole wide world, Fran, asked her to consider making some of these decorated sweaters for her friend Mimi, who lived in the beautiful city of Boston. Fran's littlest daughter Sara, by the way, was the one that renamed Denise Neesh.

Mimi owned a a little jewel box of a shop on Newbury Street selling the most irresistible goodies in the world. So, Denise made her two special sweaters, but when she was ready to send them off, she had no labels to put inside. She found a piece of satin ribbon, embroidered it with her initials, added a little rose, and off the sweaters went!

When Mimi opened the box that day in 1992, a customer walked in, saw the two sweaters….and bought both of them! Mimi asked Denise to make 6 more and so the story began…D.A.R. (Denise Allen Robinson) was born.

6 sweaters turned into 12, then 40, then Henri Bendel’s, and before Denise knew it she had outgrown her little basement and was ready to spread her wings and fly to her own studio in Chicago.

In 1999, Denise was able to hire talented people to develop and sell D.A.R. sweaters all across the USA. After a time, Denise wanted to make special clothes to wear with her sweaters. She made skirts with all of the special D.A.R. touches like scrunched and seamed textiles, gathered and twisted ribbons sewn onto plaid fabrics, layers of material with torn underskirts.

This was clothing “for the grown up girl”! This was Neesh…by D.A.R.