Garment District

Displaying 11 - 16 of 16

Interview with Mel Mallin about his experience with the Kansas City garment industry. He discusses his start in New York, his work with Maurice Coat Company in Kansas City in the 1950s, and his later purchase of the All Packaging Company box business and the Manhattan Sponging Works in the late 1960s, a fabric processing company. He shares stories about changing size labels on clothing to flatter customers, the majority Jewish ownership of local garment companies, and recounts other local garment manufacturers and designers, their specialties, and their owners and operations. He also discusses the later conversion of the Garment District buildings into offices and apartments, including including his own 1983 conversion of his box and packaging plant into the first residential loft building in Kansas City.

Video Recording

Interview with Harvey Fried about his life and about the Kansas City garment industry. Fried describes the early start of the local garment industry in the West Bottoms, with the buildings in the downtown Garment District built between approximately 1898-1915, and notes Kansas City's position as a rail hub in the center of the country as being key to manufacturing and distribution. He also recounts his parents' backgrounds, his father opening the Fried-Siegel Company in 1930 and Style Line Manufacturing Company in 1939, and the companies' role producing a wide assortment of apparel. He discusses the work of garment manufacturing and distribution in detail, the predominance of Jewish ownership in the industry, and the evolution of the Fried-Siegal and Style Line into smaller firms alongside the shrinking of the local and national garment industries. He also discusses the evolution of the Garment District neighborhood to the present and shares photographs.

Video Recording

Interview with Jessie Garcia Nieto about her parents' immigration to Kansas City from Mexico via Texas, attending Our Lady of Guadalupe and Manual High schools, her sister and cousins' work in the local garment industry, life in the Westside neighborhood, and her experiences working and raising a family. She also shares memories of Ralph Sifuentes and the accomplishments of her children.

Video Recording

Two part interview with Rosalie Strada about her life and experience as part of the Italian-American community in Columbus Park. She discusses her parents' and siblings' immigration from Italy, and recalls a warm, sharing community that she believes no longer exists, and notes that though the neighborhood was predominantly Italian-American, they had Black, Jewish, and Mexican neighbors. She also recalls the Great Depression, Pendergast, and World War II eras, working in the garment industry, the business environment on Independenve Avenue, the integration of later immigrants to the neighborhood, the trauma of her father's death, and her son, former Chiefs player John Strada.

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Interview with Lou Lesky and Elmer Price about their experiences in the Kansas City garment industry. Lesky recalls his work at Kansas City Custom Garment Company, a men's clothing maker which switched to military uniform manufacturing during World War II, and uniforms for bus drivers, bakers, and other occupations post-war. Price discusses his white goods businesses in downtown Kansas City and later near 39th and Main. The men recall the Garment District of the past, noting other companies and individuals from the area, and talk about how much it has changed. They discuss the operations of their businesses and the decline of the textile and clothing industry in the United States.

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Interview with Arthur Brand about the history of the Jewish community and his family in the Kansas City area. He describes that he and his extended family came to Kansas City from New York City in June 1928, starting Brand and Puritz garment company, and the development and decline of Kansas City's garment industry from the 1930s through the 1970s. He also discusses at length the evolution of the Jewish community from its beginning in the urban core to its eventual shift south Kansas City and later to Johnson County; issues such as assimilation and intermarriage; and the development of institutions including Menorah Hospital, the Jewish Federation of Kansas City, Jewish Vocational Services, and Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, named for his father; and his involvement with a Judaic Studies program at University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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