By Anna Biondo and Emma Alley – Among William Jewell’s creative, innovative and talented students, Easton Koch has made himself stand out. As a sophomore who plays basketball for the Cardinals, Easton still makes time for his passion: designing men’s clothing. Being from the Kansas City Metro influences his designs as he draws inspiration and ideas from what he sees in Kansas City. In fact, the company name, “easton k. kansas city”, reflects his hometown and puts the focus of the line on his interpretation of KC.
Two years ago, Easton began putting his dreams into a reality. He taught himself how take his design visions and to sketch them onto paper. Easton designs jeans, flannels, and different types of jackets including denim. He calls this type of clothing “tailored street wear”.
During the past summer Easton sized the patterns for his clothing, a long and difficult process. The first piece he made was a pair of jeans, followed by eleven other pieces – each personally made. “I wanted each piece to represent where I’m from, but I didn’t want the focus to get lost in some cliché name or title.” He hopes to soon have a manufacturer who will help produce his clothing at a much faster rate and plans to open a loft in downtown Kansas City to sell his designs, complemented by a lounge with live music.
During his first year at Jewell, Easton was enrolled in “The Creative Process” course, led by Director of Creativity and Innovation Landon Young. This course encouraged students to explore entrepreneurship, development of creative ideas, and processes to get from raw idea to end result.
With Professor Young’s guidance, Easton applied for and was awarded an Entrepreneurial Grant from William Jewell made available by the Kauffman Foundation. He and Landon continue to meet once or twice a week to continue developing the business.
Easton currently has a Tumblr page on which he posts his sketches and designs, and has plans for a web site in the near future. Regarding the positive feedback he has been receiving on his first collection, Koch relayed one of his most rewarding moments. “I threw some pictures of the first collection up on Instagram, and so many people reached out to me. My phone was blowing up, it was awesome.”
His vision for the business: “I want to give that designer-clothing feeling to others when they buy something from me.