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Edessa School Of Fashion Is Working To Make Studying Fashion Accessible To All Of Wisconsin

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Sara Stathas
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Kim Dunisch (left) is the marketing department chair at Edessa School Of Fashion and Lynne Dixon-Speller (right) serves as the design department chair.

A new four-year college in Milwaukee is now accepting applications.

Edessa School of Fashion is hoping to become the Midwest’s first four-year college dedicated to fashion. The school currently has two available degree programs — apparel design and fashion marketing.

Lynne Dixon-Speller is a co-founder and chair of the design department of Edessa, and was featured in this March's Milwaukee Magazine. Before starting her own college, Dixon-Speller served as the interim campus director, and fashion design and marketing program director at the now closed Art Institute of Wisconsin.

Edessa is named after Dixon-Speller’s grandmother, Edessa Meek Dixon, who graduated from Tuskegee University in 1920 and taught Dixon-Speller how to sew.

Dixon-Speller says while access to fashion education exists in Wisconsin, Edessa hopes to expand the equity in access to that education.

“The problem is there are not opportunities for all Milwaukeeans to study fashion. So, the need that we’re filling is to offer the opportunity to marginalized people,” she says. “We’re offering new visions in apparel design and fashion marketing and that’s the difference.”

For students who want to study fashion, Dixon-Speller says being in Wisconsin allows them to explore the part of fashion they are passionate about. “The funny thing about Wisconsin is that there’s some of everything, you have fast fashion coming out of Wisconsin and you have classic," she says.

Dixon-Speller adds, “There is some of everything, whatever your desire is, it’s out there.

Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect.
From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.