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Home | Video Series | Art House | Art House | ‘Nelly Don’ Sparks a Fashion Revolut...

Art House | ‘Nelly Don’ Sparks a Fashion Revolution

Season Four, Art House Ep. 6
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1 minute read

There are few more inspirational Kansas City stories than that of dressmaker Nell Quinlan Donnelly Reed, founder of Nelly Don.

Nelly Don, established in 1916, became the most prolific dress manufacturer of the 20th century, making an estimated 75 million garments over the life of the company. The story of the trailblazing woman behind the company is the subject of writer-director Terence O’Malley’s locally filmed “Nelly Don: The Musical Movie.”

“The takeaway from the film,” O’Malley said, “is for people to be blown away by what this woman accomplished. She started off hand sewing dresses in 1916, and by 1931 they were making 5,000 dresses a day right here in Kansas City.”

To learn more about one of Kansas City’s great entrepreneurs and the challenges of shooting a period piece musical, watch the attached video.

John McGrath is a video producer and host of Art House for Kansas City PBS.


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