A college assignment proved Kansas City is the next Austin—at least for men’s fashion

Photo by Samantha Levi

Interstate 35 isn’t the only thing that Kansas City shares with Austin.

League of Rebels, a luxury menswear brand based in the trendy Texas capital, recently secured a plot at Leawood’s Town Center. The inspiration behind this leap from the Lone-star state? A college class assignment.

University of Texas professor Lisa Dobias assigned students the task of finding the “sister city” for League of Rebels, the project to be used as a case study in an upcoming textbook. When Rebels founder Musa Ato took a call at his store to answer questions for the assignment, he dug in a little deeper.

“The case study basically mimicked our city and target demographics and focused on locations that might realistically work outside of Austin,” he says. Deciding factors in the study included customer demographic, disposable income shopping habits and openness to creativity in fashion.

Ato says that Houston was the natural next location for Rebels, but “after reviewing the study and checking out the Kansas City area, we did, in fact, fall in love and decided to make the move here.”

Ato mulled over a space at Country Club Plaza before determining that Town Center was his ideal location. A few surrounding stores in Leawood match Austin neighbors, including Peloton, Kendra Scott and North Italia. There’s one specialty League of Rebels offer that is exclusive to Kansas City: denim.

“We plan to have a bespoke denim service here,” Ato says. “We are working with salvaged denim from Italy, Japan and the USA. Customers can come in and touch the fabrics in its raw form. Then we’ll take measurements and create the pattern and design that they choose, and we’ll sew the whole thing here.” This addition, he says, “adds that extra touch of Kansas.”

GO: League of Rebels, 4573 W. 119th St. A103B, Leawood. leagueofrebels.com

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