Amanda Wicker: Black Fashion Design in Cleveland

Amanda Wicker: Black Fashion Design in Cleveland

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.

This 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.


Planning Your Visit to the Cleveland History Center

The Cleveland History Center, in University Circle, is open Friday-Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm with the first hour reserved daily for at-risk visitors. Advance timed tickets are required for all guests with the final ticket sold at 3pm. Tickets are available at WRHS monitors daily guidance from the City of Cleveland, State of Ohio, and CDC. Please note that Visitor Guidelines, public hours, and museum operations are subject to change. Updates are available at and @clestartshere.

Founded in 1867 as an historic branch of the Cleveland Library Association on Public Square in downtown Cleveland, the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) shares the dynamic stories of Northeast Ohio and beyond – stories of the people, the artifacts and the archives that are the provenance for our region.

Operating six sites throughout Northeast Ohio, WRHS presents exhibitions, programs and experiences that tell the story of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio through art, documents and artifacts from a variety of collections at its headquarters, the Cleveland History Center in University Circle. Through the use of its vast collections of family history, community history, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation, the Cleveland History Center provides a much-needed sense of place in today’s mobile society. It is a base for learning about innovation that can be transferred into modern economic expansion.

WRHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate (, a national outreach program that develops collaborative partnerships with cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. WRHS is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Sponsorships, bequests, grants, admissions, and other funding are used by WRHS to preserve and enrich the region’s artistic and cultural heritage. WRHS has earned a top four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s most-used independent evaluator of charities and nonprofits. Visit us at 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44106, at or on social media @clestartshere.