Margo Petitti was working toward her degree in landscape architecture when a friend in the men’s tailored clothing business handed her some discontinued fabric swatches and challenged her to do something creative with them. Rather than stitch the ubiquitous quilt, Petitti fashioned the wooly Prince of Wales plaid and houndstooth squares into a patchwork scarf she later gifted to her father. The creative mixing, matching, and sewing of men’s clothing swatches into elaborate patchwork designs was so inspiring to the young grad student that Petitti abandoned her horticultural studies to launch a signature scarf business. Now the 28-year-old entrepreneur makes frequent trips to luxury Italian mills such as Vitale Barberis, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Fratelli Piacenza in search of cloth to create her American-made scarves and, more recently, pocket squares.
Produced in a small factory in Fall River, Mass., each limited-edition or one-of-a-kind 80-inch square scarf ($95 to $325) is completely hand-sewn to Petitti’s demanding specifications. “With stripes and plaids, if you’re off by even an eighth of an inch it makes a big difference, so I insist every design be on point,” says Petitti, whose wool, cashmere, and silk designs are currently available on her web site, and at specialty retailers such as On the Fly in San Francisco, and Paul Stuart (under private label) in New York. (401.578.6768, www.margopetitti.com)