Kevin Koch • The Good of Goshen

Kevin Koch

Master Tailor, Koch House of Design
Goshen Arts and Culture District Task Force member, Goshen Arts Council

Published March 2021

I grew up here. When I graduated high school, I got a job right away because I had done reupholstering, so I knew how to run a commercial machine. That’s how I got a job with a company in Goshen that made band uniforms and cheerleading uniforms and did embroidery. That was called Jean Lee Originals. That’s when I got bit by the bug.

They found out I was an art major, so they put me in the embroidery room. One thing led to another. I got really interested in the whole trade, so I started looking around for a master tailor to learn from. Lo and behold, there was one here in Goshen. I started studying with him.

One of the reasons we came into Goshen was to try to build more local business and awareness. We were selling to clients on the East Coast and down south and finding clients here in Goshen who were buying custom clothing in Chicago or New York – out of the area, not even considering us.

The second part of that move to Goshen was my desire, as I retire, to have an academy and textile guild where we train. And I do love to teach.

I’ll never be retired! I should probably just say, ‘the next stage of my life.’

My whole reason for purchasing the building that I did and moving into Goshen here on Washington Street was because we have such a vibrant arts culture here. I thought, ‘Wow, this is a great opportunity to be in the middle of things.’

We’ve been talking since we’ve been here about some kind of art district. We had talked to the mayor and different people in the city and found out they were already thinking about the same thing. So we kind of just jumped on the bandwagon and said, ‘We want to be a part of this.’

We’ve had a lot of customers who fly in to do work here, salesmen, etc. The atmosphere here in Goshen has stood out to everyone who’s ever visited.

I’ve always loved to travel. But what I was finding was that even traveling internationally, I wasn’t finding a large pool of artists as concentrated as was right here under my own nose. It’s always been a creative community. My traveling just reinforced the idea of, ‘Hey, I’m right in the middle of it here. Let’s nurture that.

Writing and editing by Scott Weisser and Neil King

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