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.
Musical Guest: Evelyn Wright w/David Thomas
Evelyn Wright-vocals, David Thomas-keyboards
Vocalist Evelyn Wright has been a professional singer for more than three decades with experience in jazz, R&B and pop. A native of Cleveland and graduate of John F. Kennedy high school, she was voted Best Female Vocalist in 1985 in conjunction with WCPN. She won the 1993 award for Most Promising Female Artist and Favorite Female R&B singer from Midwest Urban Music. Wright is renowned for her expertise and warmth. Her recordings include a live performance with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra at the Bop Stop. Wright has toured throughout the United States and Canada, performing in top hotels, nightclubs and concert halls. She also performed for First Lady Rosalyn Carter. Former Mayor Michael White officially recognized her for the entertainment she has given to the City of Cleveland. Evelyn is the recipient of the 2008 Cleveland Jazz Legends Award