Claus Jahnke was born in Edmonton and has lived and worked in Vancouver since 1981. He studied fashion merchandising at John Casablanca College of Design, graduating in the early 1980s. Jahnke specializes in the study of fashion design history in Germany and Austria and now has one of the most important collections of historical clothing from those countries existing outside of Europe.
Claus Jahnke's collection includes men’s, women’s, and children’s garments from 1720s to 1960s and he now is consulted by historians and other researchers from all over North American and Europe. One of the most noteworthy displays of his collection was the groundbreaking exhibition “Broken Threads”, hosted by the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre which dealt with the destruction of the Jewish garment industry in Germany and Austria in the 1930's & 40's.