UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

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Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center

Dressed to Impress: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Kansas City Fashion Week

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” –Coco Chanel

You’ve already met a few of the Kansas City fashion designers who took to the runway and strutted their business savvy at last week’s Kansas City Fashion Week.  

But what does a fashion week have to do with Kansas City entrepreneurship?

Here are five entrepreneurial lessons that any entrepreneur, fashionista or not, can take away from KC Fashion Week.

Be unique.

Coming up with a creative concept for your startup, established company, product or overall brand will help you stay ahead of the crowd.

Anyone can learn to sew a plain white tee (or at least we’d all like to think we could), but designers and entrepreneurs that stand up and stand out have a story to tell. Seventeen-year-old designer Kate Walz modeled her collection after the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Zohreh Zarrabi mixed modesty and glam to create looks inspired by her religion.


Get your name out there, as much as possible, whether that’s through a runway show, demo day or social media. Find your customers where they are, give them something to share and show them your story.  

And you don’t even have to wait until you’ve launched. Andrea Marie Long did an impressive job of promoting her collection on Facebook for the past few months leading up to this event.

Make connections.

Don’t be afraid of approaching people who can help your business grow—or who can help you spread the word.

I met Jeremy Williams of Keefe Cravat and Zohreh Zarrabi. They were so friendly and passionate about their brands that I wanted to help promote them. That’s the kind of impression you want to leave people with—the one that keeps them talking about you.

Know your competition.

It’s true in fashion. It’s true in entrepreneurship. Keep up with the trends and products. That doesn’t mean you have to copy the trends, but you need to know what you’re up against.

House of Cochon’s collection is a great example of knowing what’s in style and staying ahead of the competition at the same time. She knows how to make her clothing dark and edgy, yet feminine.

Want to keep up with the startups on the Kansas City scene?  Attend 1 Million Cups, go to a Demo Day. There’s plenty of opportunities to see what’s happening and what’s buzzing.

Be visible.

Own it: you’re an extension of your brand. Make your presence in the social scene, like In Real Life. Let people get to know you are both personally and professionally.

Laura Kathleen did just that when she appeared on Project Runway and Project Runway: All Stars. You can do the same. Attend a networking event, a local “Shark Tank” or a lead a workshop. (You can find opportunities aplenty on our business calendar.)

Let people know how you shine.  

Fashion insights and observations contributed by Ashley Anderson, aspiring blogger and fashionista. Follow her at @luvfool14

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