Before Coco Chanel, There was Amelia Earhart the Fashion Designer

July 21, 2017

Everyone knows Amelia Earhart as a trendsetter in the aviation world, being the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic. She was well respected in a male-dominated field which was not an easy task in the 1930s. Amelia exuded girl power before anyone even coined the term. Her fabulousness goes higher than her airplane ever did.

To fund her flying expeditions, Amelia designed her own clothing line. Growing up Amelia studied fashion design and even designed aviation attire for herself and an all-female pilots association called the Ninety-Nines. Known for her sense of fashion, it was not surprising that Amelia and her husband decided a clothing line was a good fit for Amelia’s brand. Yes, even then, she was establishing her brand. 

The Amelia Earhart clothing line hit the shelves of stores like R.H. Macy & Co in New York [known today as Macy’s], Marshall Field in Chicago, and 30 other retailers in late 1933. Since it was released during the Great Depression, the clothing line of 25 designs was focused on practicality, comfortability, and affordability.

She even made her sewing patterns available in Woman’s Home Companion magazine for the women who could not afford the in-store clothing. Unfortunately, the clothing line was short-lived, but that didn’t stop Amelia from solidifying her place in history.

Eighty years later Amelia Earhart’s fashion sense is still inspiring designers like Dior who paid homage with a fabulous aviator jacket during a recent autumn/winter haute couture show. Actress and newbie clothing designer Liv Tyler recently released a clothing line under the Belstaff capsule collection that was inspired by Amelia.

In an interview with The Cut, Liv Tyler said, “[Amelia] was such a strong, powerful, intelligent, yet feminine woman.” Amelia Earhart should be admired as a female who lived her dream of being a female aviator and clothing designer. You go Amelia!

Photo: Dior autumn/winter 2018 haute couture show