40,000 feet fashion


Amelia Earhart played a big role in modern fashion and lifestyle. Earhart created an amazing career. She was a pilot and the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic. But the career of the pilot did not bring her money Earhart started to create her own clothing line.

Fashion at 40,000 feet

As the first woman to fly both solo and nonstop across the Atlantic, Earhart had a spectacular career as a pilot. But those achievements didn’t necessarily come with financial benefits. For that, Earhart turned to what was then a novel business venture—a branded fashion offering.

Earhart had gotten advice on the business from fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. While that undoubtedly helped, her true inspiration may have come from first-hand experience. As a young pilot, Earhart was dismayed to find that flight suits were designed specifically for men, which meant they didn’t fit her frame. A need for sensible “active” clothing no matter one’s sex was something that apparently stuck with her.

Earhart later partnered with husband/manager George Charles Putnam to pursue the venture, reportedly working with a sewing machine and a single assistant to craft a line of activewear she dubbed Amelia Earhart Fashions. She even took up the task of modeling the clothes herself.

“I felt there was a real need for sport things in the medium price range,” she told The Boston Globe in 1934. “… I’ve tried to make my clothes suited to those who have only a limited amount to spend, and who want simple, good-looking things that are not extreme.”


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