Maker City KC

Maker City KC newsletter: These locals are making waves in swimwear, hip-hop and more

This week’s newsletter captures what I love so much about Maker City KC. When we get to share stories that surprise people in the best of ways, I feel like we’re doing our job as storytellers.

One of our features this week is about Helen Jon, a Lenexa-based swimwear company that’s making waves with stylish (and comfy) suits that are available in boutiques at luxury hotels such as The Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. And they just did a collaboration with Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s Southern-inspired clothing brand.

Another feature is on Kemet Coleman, a musician that I’ve known for years. I’ve admired how he’s turned his music into so much more. He’s the frontman of The Phantastics, KC’s best party band, and he also has a couple hip-hop projects, one under the name Kemet The Phantom. Coleman is releasing a brand new album called “Electric Park” on 816 day. That’s this Friday, August 16 in case you missed it!

And another total coincidence that I’m loving is three of the last four weeks we’ve had something in our newsletter about Electric Park! I love the story of Electric Park, an amusement park that started in the East Bottoms in Kansas City in 1899 and would later become the inspiration for one of the world’s most influential makers, Walt Disney. This amusement park that was started by the Heim Brothers in the building that now houses J. Rieger & Co. led to the creative inspiration and eventual creation of Disneyland.

A few weeks back, we revisited Electric Park when Rieger opened their new distillery, then again when we featured LoyaltyKC and their Electric Park T-shirt. And here we are again today, as Kemet The Phantom prepares to release an album of the same name.

If you don’t know the story, read a brief version of it here — and help preserve KC history by telling everyone you know.

-Chris Haghirian