Interview with Mary Lou Chalmers


Interview with Mary Lou Chalmers about her experience working in Kansas City's garment industry from the late 1950s through late 1970s.. She discusses enrolling in the fashion design program at Kansas City Art Institute, as well as taking courses at Fanny Fern Fitzwater School of Fashion Illustration and the Isabelle Boldin School of Fashion, and then working in design and pattern-making at area garment companies such as Nelly Don and Gay Gibson. She describes the process of designing and making clothing, her experiences at numerous companies, the perks of working at Nelly Don, and times that her designs were featured in national magazines. She also discusses the decline of the garment fashion industry in the 1970s, the homogenization of shopping, and the shift to manufacturing in Asia.

Object Type
Video Recording
Digital Object Identifier
This project was funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library.
Shelf Location

SC229 Garment Industry Oral History Collection

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This oral history recording is presented as a historical document of the recollections and opinions of persons living and/or working in Kansas City when the history was conducted. Minor edits have been made to remove pauses, interruptions and verbal tics, and the recording is otherwise verbatim as it was captured. These oral histories represent the thoughts and opinions of the original participants and do not reflect the views of the Kansas City Public Library or its partner organizations in this oral history project.