Claire Mccardell - American Fashion Innovator

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Claire McCardell was born in Frederick, Maryland on the 24th of May 1905 and passed away on the 22nd of March 1958. In her 53 years on this earth she changed the face of fashion, as we knew it. Acknowledged as the creator of the American look, Claire helped to steer the American fashion industry away from the mainly French inspired designs of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Born into a wealthy family, Claire took an interest in sports and fashion in her childhood years and enjoyed cutting out figures from her mothers fashion magazines and making paper dolls from them. In her teenage years she began sewing her own clothes. Then in 1925 she was allowed to attend The New York School of Fine Arts (later known as parsons school of design) even though her father was never very supportive of her interest in fashion. Claire spent a year studying there, and working part time making and mending old costumes at an amateur theatrical club. It was whilst working here that she got to study garment design closely, as most of the costumes she made where constructed from donated finery (what we would now know as formal or evening wear). In 1926 she transferred to Parsons School of Design in Paris, where she became immersed in fashion. It was while in Paris that Claire gained a thorough knowledge of French couturiers. It was also here that she began to understand the relationship between style and comfort, or the lack of it. After spending a year in France Claire returned back to New York to complete her studies. As Claire grew into the industry, her love of sports was always a massive influence and taught her that clothes can be functional, and comfortable. Occupation always seemed to follow Claire closely, and there was never really a large period where she was seen to be in recluse of the industry. Her First serious job was with a knitwear company by the name of Sol Pollack.

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