Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

High (altitude) Fashion

These days every celebrity is a fashion designer.

Gwen Stefani. Justin Timberlake. Mary-Kate and Ashley. John Malkovich.

But you may not know that the first celebrity fashion designer was not a musician or a movie star.

It was Amelia Earhart.



In the 1930s, Amelia Earhart was the most famous woman in the world. She was the first female pilot to soar across the ocean. She was a best-selling author. She was a pretty face. She was an adventurer. She was a fashion designer.





Growing up in Kansas, Amelia was an avid seamstress. As a child, she created elaborate gowns for her dolls. As a teenager, she kept up with the latest fashion trends by sewing her own clothes.



As a pilot, she designed both a jumpsuit she could wear comfortably in the cockpit and a flysuit allowing maneuverability.



Today, we associate Amelia's style with that bad ass leather bomber jacket, aviator sun glasses, and cream-colored scarf. But that look was actually only a taste of it.



Tall, thin, and gorgeous, Amelia was very fashion-conscious. She wore stylish suits and dresses that always garnered her attention in the pages of Vogue and Cosmo.





Despite her insanely busy schedule, Amelia started her own clothing line in 1934, using her very own sewing machine and original designs. Her collection included dresses, pantsuits, blouses, and hats.



Since her line was coming out in the midst of the Great Depression, Amelia made sure her clothing, featured in Macy department stores, was affordable. She used fabrics that were easily washable and durable. Her designs were also available as inexpensive sewing patterns for women suffering from the recession.



Unfortunately, despite her mega-fame, Amelia's clothing line did not catch on with the public. Even though her prices were low, women in the United States simply did not have money to waste on fashion while their husbands were unemployed during the Great Depression.


(one of the last surviving dresses from the collection)

Although Amelia disappeared in the sky forever in 1937, her influence in fashion still lives on today.

Aviator jackets continue to go in and out of style. Her elegant pantsuit look will always remain popular.



Did you know about Amelia Earhart's fashion line before this post? What do you think of her style?

44 comments:

Vix said...

I had no idea! I never visit your blog without learning something new, you really are amazing. Love those pictures, she was so elegant. x

anhesty said...

hey jennifer!!!! you won the shabby apple dress!!! please give me your email address so i can send it to the rep at shabby apple!

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

Thank you for this post. First visit on your blog. Found you on Olga's blog in the comment section ;-) I knew Amelia, but I had no idea she had such fashion sense. I love blogs about strong, influential women. This story made my day. Merci. Veronique aka French Girl in Seattle

David L Macaulay said...

interesting and fascinating as always Jen - I didn't know much about her fashion aspect, although I know she kind of disappeared..

Marie @ Lemondrop Vintage said...

I didn't know, but wow, she was amazing!

Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge
July's gorgeous giveaway

Bonnie said...

I had no idea that she was a fashion designer!!!! That's so awesome. I love kick-ass women like this.
Even though I hate the Olsen twins, they design some awesome shit.

http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Sarah said...

She was amazing, a true inspiration!
x

-E- said...

oh sorry yeah just google "louis theroux westboro" and the the third entry should be "the most hated familiy in america (1/8)". the 2nd one might not be up as it was fairly recent.

Meri said...

I had no idea she was so stylish! I love the photograph of her with Cary Grant, too, its charming!

lauren lanza osias said...

i didn't know that. i knew she was quite the business woman and honestly what i've read about her, she was sort of a bitch. may she rest in peace :/ love bomber jackets.

http://laurenlanzaosias.blogspot.com
roy g biF...

Style, She Wrote said...

I had no idea Amelia was a fashion designer! It makes sense -- she had a pretty yet practical style. Thanks for posting and for your sweet comment on our blog! xo style, she wrote

Kavery said...

Did not know that about her. John M is a designer too? !!

Anonymous said...

wow i had no idea thats actually very cool - i love her style - and those amelia inspired looks - definitely something id like to rock xx

Josie said...

I had no idea she was a designer -- that's SO cool!
xo Josie
www.winksmilestyle.com

Dahl said...

How interesting! I always admired Earhart for doing such amazing work in a field dominated by men, but it's cool that she stood out in other aspects as well. I wish her clothing line lasted longer. I wish she herself had lasted longer! http://thearcenciel.blogspot.com/

Stephanie said...

I had not idea! This is so fascinating! She really was gorgeous...and brave and creative. I think that this might be my new favourite post! Tweeting it now to share this cool story with the world!

Sherin said...

I had no idea she had her own fashion line. Definitely makes her more kick-ass!!

Couture Carrie said...

How cool ~ I didn't know that!
Love her style!

xoxox,
CC

Cafe Fashionista said...

I love AE - she is such an inspiring individual; and her style was incredible! I actually bought an Aviator Jacket last fall that makes me feel like her whenever I wear it. So incredible! :)

Olga said...

Wasn't she just extraordinary? All the aspects of her life go beyond what we'd consider normal.

Courtney Erin said...

I was actually aware of this but I'd never seen an image of anything she's designed - very cool post!

xoxo ~ Courtney
http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

Mouthwash said...

What an amazing discovery! I never knew - and who would have? Jennifer this is so cool. See, just add this to the list of why you are so fabulous. I love this.

I feel a new book being added to my goodreads biography list!

Amber
Ambersmouthwash

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

I had no idea about AE's fashions (and she sure could wear them well). What a fascinating post. Thanks!!

Fashion.MakeUp.LifeStyle said...

Oh wow had no idea nor ever heard about her. You always have the most interesting and educating posts. Absolutely love them honey.


<3 Marina
Fashion.MakeUp.LifeStyle

Pearl said...

I never knew!

And weren't her bones recently discovere??

Pearl

Movies on my Mind said...

I saw the movie they made on Amelia. It wasn't a hip film.

On a side note about fashion designing: Beyonce’s Knowels' mum, Tina Knowles, used to design the singer's clothes. Is letting your mother interfere with one's fashion sense a good thing?

Oh to Be a Muse said...

you know, i had heard that she did some sewing but i didn't know that she had an actual line. you can definitely see her style in so many current designs. but seriously--john malkovich?

Kristin said...

I didn't know about that...SO cool! One of my earliest fashion posts was about how much I loved her style!

24 Corners said...

Fascinating...I had never heard this before! She was an even more amazing woman that we thought...smart *and* creative, she deserved more than flying recognition it seems!
xo Jessica

(love that you visited 24C!)

Venus In Virgo said...

I read all about her when I was a teen because I was going through im going to be a pilot faze. You did a fantastic job on sharing details about Amelia that most people don't know. Hey, I'm on Facebook now and liked your page, come visit if you have a chance. XOXO

BlueVanilla said...

I swear I learn something from you every time I visit! You're awesome lady!
xx

Bree said...

I didn't know! Ahhh this is very cool! Damn, she's badass! <3

xoxo, Bree

http://vivalabreee.blogspot.com/

Audrey Allure said...

Wow, I had no idea! Interesting :)

jos xx said...

no i've never heard of her! thanks for sharing! her clothes are very ispirational! Stunning photos of herself - the black and white and beautiful!

jos xx

Savvy Gal said...

wow.... how does she fit this into her busy schedule. impressive.

Missed Periods said...

I had no idea about that, but I do like her style. I can't wait to tell my students. (I teach at a fashion college.)

Jenny in Ohio said...

oh, wow, this is news to me! I never realized how tall and thin she was either. Way to go Amelia!

Women Leather Bomber jacket said...

nice post love it

Mary Hall, The Recessionista said...

More information and photos in the full article I wrote on Amelia's fashion line here> http://www.therecessionista.com/2009/11/amelia-earharts-fashion-line-found-at.html#

I think you used the picture I had of Amelia's dress from the Hanover library. (the floral dress with pearls.)

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Ginger said...

I was looking for a new bomber jacket and found this. I am also a pilot, and a member of,the 99's, The International Organization of Women Pilots, which she was the first president. I always have loved her style, but never realized she was a designer. Love her look. Is was truly inspiring to many women, and still is today. Just another notch on her belt of the many skills this young lady had. She was amazing.

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Julie Kirby said...

She had a luggage line that was sold for decades ... And I don't think most people knew that she was married ...