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 will share, 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. Beyond fashion, Wicker was also active with the NAACP, the National Urban League, the United Negro College Fund, the Future Outlook League, and served on the board of the Central Area Community Council. She was active in the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and was honored by them with the Sojourner Truth Award for her service to the community and young people. Visitors will come away inspired by the story of a self-made Black woman who lifted those around her.
Amanda Wicker: Black Fashion Design in Cleveland opens at the Cleveland History Center, headquarters of the Western Reserve Historical Society, with a preview event on Thursday, June 10, 2021. To purchase your tickets for this event, please see below.
General Admission: $25
WRHS Member Admission: $20
Tickets include admission to the exhibit opening plus two drink tickets. Additional beverages (beer and wine), as well as light snacks, will be available for purchase.