Amanda Wicker (1894-1987) moved to Cleveland in 1924 with not much more than her skills as a dressmaker. With a single student enrolled, she began the Clarke School of Dressmaking and Fashion Design in her home on Cedar Avenue in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood. For the following six decades, she established herself as the preeminent fashion teacher and mentor in the predominantly African American Fairfax neighborhood.
The new exhibit, “Amanda Wicker: Black Fashion Design in Cleveland” shares, for the first time, fifteen garments that showcase Wicker’s ingenuity and creativity. With a bit of sparkle and playful silhouettes, she designed everything from jumpsuits to bridal gowns. The garments are enhanced by the rich photographic archive of the school, and thus a community.