In the early 20th century, the saying went that one of every seven women in the United States wore a dress made in Kansas City.
Trailing only New York City in production, the Kansas City Garment District stretched from Washington to Wyandotte and from 6th to 11th Streets. At its height, the district employed over 8,000 workers, many of them seamstresses.
My grandmother, Nellie Victoria, was one of them.
In the late 1920s and early 30s, she joined thousands of other women moving to Kansas City, drawn by the prospect of steady jobs and the glimmer of independence.
A meticulous worker, Nellie soon found herself working alongside the designers themselves as a prototype seamstress, painstakingly bringing their sketches to life. Her deep love of elegant design and unrelenting attention to detail made this role—like her perfectly-stitched dresses—a seamless fit. To her, quality was personal.
To me, it still is.
After nearly a decade designing leather handbags and accessories for global fashion brands, I returned to my industrial design roots, and my commitment to thoughtfully-designed—and beautifully-made— products that began with my grandmother almost 100 years ago.
In 2015, I founded Nellie Victoria on the belief that quality shouldn’t be surprising—it should be expected. That value isn’t defined by trends or brands, but by thoughtful, carefully-crafted products that endure for lifetimes. And that a company can be a conversation about what we care about, what we leave behind, and what we’ll carry with us—always.
Mary Livadas, Founder & Designer