Nonprofit Organization Rightfully Sewn Hosts First Fashion Forward Event

Students, designers, and community members met at the Kansas City Public Library on Saturday, Sept. 17 to take a closer look inside Kansas City’s fashion industry.

Sponsored by Missouri Bank, the event also celebrated the 100th anniversary of fashion designer and “Kansas City icon” Ellen ‘Nell’ Donnelly Reed’s first sale of dresses.

Rightfully Sewn founder Jennifer Lapka Pfeifer opened the event by recalling many of Nell’s achievements as well as the role her influence played in the creation of the organization.

“Because of Nell we are able to gather here today to take a look at our past in order to inform our future,” said Pfeifer.

From 1916 to 1956 Nell manufactured over 75 million dresses before retiring from the company. The company was known as being the largest dress manufacturer of the 20th century.

Following Pfeifer’s introduction was a screening of clips from the Nelly Don: A Stitch in Time documentary.

The event ended with a 45 minute panel which featured documentary creator Terence O’Malley.

O’Malley is also a relative to Nell. “He is a huge advocate of Nell’s history,” said Pfeifer. “We wouldn’t know much about her if it weren’t for him.”

A reception was held afterwards in which designers of all ages introduced themselves and spoke about their work within the organization.

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