Gail Gaines is a Fashion Designer, Illustrator, and Teaching Artist. For more than 20 years Gaines has designed and fashioned couture clothing for clients in Philadelphia, New York and Washington, DC. Classically trained in tailoring and French couture dressmaking, she established Gail Gaines Couturiere, a business catering to a high-end clientele designing couture garments and travel collections for clients in Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, DC. Her designs extend to home couture, artisan jewelry, children’s wear and accessories for men. She also taught a variety of creative and practical sewing courses at Temple University in Center City Philadelphia for many years.
Gail Gaines grew up in Wildwood, New Jersey. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Fashion Design from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a 2013 Distinguished Alumna. She obtained a Master of Science in Museum Leadership and Arts Administration at Drexel University.
As a longtime faculty member in Moore’s Fashion Design Department, she taught second- and third-year fashion illustration and high school students in Moore’s Summer Art & Design Institute. She develops arts-in-education curriculum guides for grades 5-12 and adult continuing education programs.
Gaines was one of fourteen alumnae who fashioned a giant boot for Moore’s 106th Anniversary Celebration in 2008. Her boot, Every Little Detail, is part of the collection at the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. In 2010, Gaines was commissioned by Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia to create Anvil for Allen; a story quilt sculpture outlining the life of Richard Allen which is on permanent display in the church’s historical museum.
1. She Raised Words, Giclee Collection – Inspired by the empowering influences of great women of strength, history and my ancestors.
2. The Studio, Giclee Collection – Fashion Illustrations
3. Les Enfants, Giclee Collection – The Children
4. The Anvil, Giclee Collection – Direct images from my 2010, Sankofa: Anvil for Allen
Gail Gaines’s artwork is of mixed media. She combines unique fabrics, trims, and needlepoint with her illustrations to create unique giclee prints and fabric sculptures. Her stylized figures and faces capture pronounced images that tell her stories with a fashion flare. The color palettes are vivid, bold and comforting. Her work is an expression of family, ancestry, strength, beauty, resilience and the evocative complexities of the African American experience.
She is an Artist-in-residence with October Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and mentors sewing, drawing and fashion design in her community.