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Kansas City Designer Joanne Mullin: A Collaboration for Transforming Lives

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“The promise of cooler weather always inspires me to get dressed up again,” said Kansas City designer Joanne Mullin. “The fall season, with its social events and busy schedules, is upon us, and I, for one, always want to update my wardrobe for the season.” 

Joanne’s Kansas City-based company, J.Mullin Apparel Co., creates distinctive, one-of-a-kind luxury kimonos. “We create garments for the woman who has designed her lifestyle around what she loves,” she affirmed. “Each garment features a one-of-a-kind combination of fabrics. We incorporate repurposed and vintage kimono fabrics into most of our designs. Each piece tells a story not unlike the story of the woman who wears it.

“I make garments for women who are craving an elevated ease that is comfortable and adaptable to any occasion. Women are looking for garments that bring out their confidence and make them feel more alive–more of who they are,” she continued. “They are choosing quality over quantity, preferring a more sophisticated and timeless look that can be dressed up or down for any occasion.”

Joanne started making kimonos four years ago when she and her husband moved to Kansas City from the San Francisco Bay area. “I decided to make kimonos because I needed something to wear to an event and I couldn’t find anything in stores that I liked. As an interior designer, I loved to combine fabrics and textures, so I decided to sew a kimono using a combination of repurposed fabrics. It turned out so well, I decided to make more!”

In 2021 Mullin teamed up with Rightfully Sewn, a Kansas City non-profit company whose founder, Jennifer Lapka, graced the cover of HERLIFE Magazine in September 2017, to create new patterns and to professionally sew each piece. The company held its official launch in April, during which women were able to try the garments on and see for themselves how comfortable and flattering the pieces are. “A woman who feels she is at her best has a higher level of self-confidence and panache,” Joanne added. “She is at ease in any situation. She is poised and confident; empowered to be a force for good and an inspiration to others.”

J.Mullin Apparel donates its proceeds to organizations that provide housing, counseling, job training and opportunities to women who need a second chance in life. In Kansas City, the company supports Healing House and other organizations.