Garment Industry

Displaying 11 - 20 of 52

Interview with Regina Pachter about her life and experience in the Kansas City garment industry. She recalls her father's immigration to the United States in 1915, with Regina following with her mother in 1921, and later meeting her husband Meyer Pachter, a Kansas City native. She discusses her and Meyer's experiences as students at the University of Missouri, his first garment industry job with Laverne Cloak Company and her employment as a social worker, and Meyer opening the Pachter Garment Company and later merging with the Louis Walter Company and Youthcraft Manufacturing Company. She also discusses Meyer's later move into the carwash business, his work as a salesman at Woolf Brothers, their work within the Jewish community, and other ventures. She ends the interview by sharing information about her family, and playing a piece on the piano.

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Interview with Jerry Stolov about his life and his family's experience in the garment industry at Kansas City Custom Garment Company. He recalls his family's immigration from Poland, and his uncle working at Kansas City Garment Company upon his arrival, and later owned the company. Stolov reports that his father joined his uncle at the company upon his own arrival in Kansas City, and the company staying in operation through the Depression with government contracts for uniform manufacture. The company had post-war success selling custom men's suits and other garments, and Stolov discusses the process of being measured, selecting fabrics, and the ultimate creation of the garments. The company also made uniforms for TWA, the Kansas City Police Department, and other organizations, and Stolov discusses prominent clients including H. Roe Bartle and Harry Truman, who was buried in a Kansas City Garment Company suit.

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Interview with Steve Hammer about his family's history in Kansas City garment industry. He discusses his family's company, Hammer Brothers, and how it adapted to industry changes by moving from suppliers and manufacturers for the coat and dress business, to promotional clothing and hats, to supplying the patch and athletic wear embroidery industry. He also discusses his Jewish identity, his relationship with the local Jewish community, and also discusses his maternal family's Cake Box Bakeries.

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Interview with Marvin Gibian about his family's history in the Kansas City garment industry. He recounts his father's background and work with various garment companies before opening Oakwood Sportswear, a men's and boys clothing wholesaler to shops in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma until it closed in 1964. He discusses the work of selling throughout the region, their business during World War II, and the post-war shift in the industry from small, independent businesses to large chains. He also discusses the role of wholesalers in supporting the large mail order companies such as Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, and National Bellas Hess.

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Interview with Bill Kort about his life and his experience in the Kansas City garment industry working as a "bundle boy" as a teenager at Brand and Puritz in the early 1960s. He discusses asking his neighbor and friend's father Arthur Brand for a summer job, and being hired as a bundle boy who would take piece goods from station to station to have buttons added, collars sewn, or other discrete parts of the manufacturing process. He discusses the diversity of the workforce, his memories of the Garment District and Downtown Kansas City, and his later career in investments at H. O. Peet.

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Interview with brothers Ralph and Ben Zarr about their lives and experience working in Kansas City's garment industry. They recount their father's and uncles' backgrounds in the garment business, their father's founding of the Quality Hill Dress Company, which made two-piece dresses for size flexibility, their start in the business as traveling salesmen, and the company's practice of adapting best-selling designs by other companies from previous seasons into two-piece dresses. They also discuss changes in fashion, overseas manufacturing, and labor union demands as factors in the decline of their business and the local industry, and share memories of seeing one of their dresses in a movie, having a racially diverse group of employees, future business dealings, and downtown businesses of the era.

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Interview with Marianne Young about her life and her experience in Kansas City's garment industry. Born and raised in Germany, she discusses getting her taste for nice things from her mother and her early interest in fashion, coming to the United States on a scholarship to Northeast Missouri State University, meeting her husband, and following his job to Kansas City. She recalls her job at upscale women's clothing store Swanson's in the 1970s, working as a salesperson and helping assemble wardrobes for customers, declining offers to work as a model, and working as a buyer for DuVall's until the store closed. She discusses the fate of the various DuVall's locations in the area, and going to work at Saks on the Plaza as a personal shopper until that store closed circa 2005. She shares her opinions about the state of Kansas City clothing retailers, the change in fashion to focus on younger women, and making her wardrobe work over time.

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Interview with Alice Nast Statland about her husband Nat Nast. She recounts her husband's history, their move to Kansas City, and his desire to go into the sport shirt business, and his later shift to specializing in bowling shirts. She discusses the business's popularity through the 1950s and '60s, and diversified into caps, jackets and other promotional apparel, and was sold by the family in the early '70s. The brand was revived as Nat Nast Luxury Originals menswear line by their daughters several decades later and garnered a lot of media exposure. She also notes that original Nat Nast shirts could command two to three hundred dollars at the time of the interview.

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Interview with Ann Brownfield about her experience as a designer Kansas City and other Midwestern cities. She recalls her start designing shoes in St. Louis, later teaching pattern-making in Grand Island, Nebraska, and working in sportswear, coat, and suit design at Brand and Puritz after moving to Kansas City in 1960. She describes opening her own factory in Kansas City, Kansas, designing and sewing small collections for a variety of clients, including making warm-up suits for the 1972 US Olympic ski team; and her later closure due to the decline of skilled sewing machine operators. She also discusses the decline of the local industry, manufacturing moving overseas, and later working in retail, giving tours of the old garment district, and beginning to collect clothing and other items from local manufacturers.

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Interview with Marshall Miller about his family's experience in the dry cleaning and laundry business in Kansas City. He discusses his grandfather Isaac Miller immigrating to the United States, founding Miller's Quick Service Dry Cleaning Company in 1907, and Marshall's father Leon taking over the business by the mid-1940s. Miller recalls how both men sought to modernize the business, bringing in new technologies and methods, and focused on quality work. He discusses the changes in the business over the decades, from dry cleaning being a high volume, low cost business when people regularly wore suits and dresses, to a low volume, higher cost business as people shifted to wearing more casual, machine-washable fabrics. He also discusses the business's work with local garment manufacturers and hotels, his own experience working for the company as a young man, and the small tailoring business operated by his maternal grandfather, Sam Schultz.

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