Kaffe Fassett was born in San Francisco in 1937. Kaffe ventured into the world of colorful yarn on a visit to a Scottish wool mill with fashion designer Bill Gibb. Inspired by the colors in the landscape, Kaffe was thrilled to find the same colors in yarns. He bought 20 colors of Shetland wool and some knitting needles, and on the train back to London a fellow passenger taught him how to knit.
His first fabric design appeared as a full page spread in Vogue Knitting magazine. Missoni and Bill Gibb commissioned Kaffe's early commercial collections, and his one-of-a-kind designs have been collected by Barbra Streisand, Lauren Bacall, John Schlesinger, Ali McGraw, Irene Worth, Shirley Maclaine, Helen Frankenthaler, Alan Bergman and H.RH Princess Michael of Kent.
In 1988 Kaffe became the first living textile artists to have a one man show at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The exhibition attracted such crowds that the Museum doubled attendance figures during the run and has since visited Finland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, USA and Iceland. Kaffe's first needlepoint design was commissioned by Pamela Lady Harlech for Lord Harlech. Since then, commissions include; two 5-foot square needlepoint tapestry designs for the 1994 Marks & Spencer department stores Christmas packaging; tufted rug designs for Christopher Farr Hand Made Rugs; two 5-foot square needlepoint tapestries for the Sea Princess cruise liner; a needlepoint tapestry for an Elizabethan house in Yorkshire; a series of five tapestries and a tufted rug for The Edinburgh Tapestry Weaving Company; a 13' by 15' mosaic mural at the entrance to a theater in Ojai, California; needlepoint arm chairs for clients around the world and an endless list of one-of-a-kind design garments.
In 1993 the UK based Northern Ballet Theater asked Kaffe to design costumes and sets followed by The Royal Shakespeare Company commissioning Kaffe to co – design the set and costumes for 'As You Like It'. Kaffe reveled in the Elizabethan period and used knitting, needlepoint, rag rugging and patchwork in the costumes. It was directed by Gregory Doran and opened in 2000, one of the most exciting commissions Kaffe has received to date. Kaffe's unique sense of color and drive to create, combined with his desire to encourage others, has led to his reputation as a guru in the world of color and textiles.