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'Kansas City has become home to me': Brazilian artist finds passion, community through tie-dye work

Posted at 9:20 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-22 09:33:48-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A young woman in Kansas City has combined football and fashion to score her many friends and a few fans of her own.

“I am 26 years old,” said Bruna Abdo, Designs by Bru. “I’m from Brazil. I was an exchange student. I chose to study abroad. I chose New York, Florida, California. They put me in a small town — Wamego, Kansas.”

Abdo went from living with 11 million people to 5,000.

“I’m from a big city. In a big city, nobody knows each other," she said. "But here, you wave. It’s just home."

A Kansas State University graduate, Abdo said she knew she found something special in Kansas City, but then the pandemic hit.

“I had two jobs in the restaurant industry. Both of my jobs there was no work,” she said. “I needed a way to relieve my stress, and I wanted to find a new hobby. My grandma was a fashion designer for Vogue, she’s from Italy. And back in Brazil, she’s always my inspiration.”

Repurposed clothes, tie-dyed shirts and Designs by Bru took off.

“It’s been a fun journey — I was not expecting to make more than 50 shirts," she said. "Now I’ve done over 1,000.”

Just this week, her orders have made their way around the country. And recently, shirts have dropped into the hands of Chiefs players and their families.

“I’ve never been around football,” Abdo said. “The Kansas City community is amazing. Everybody has a passion for Kansas City, and I finally found that passion, too. I feel at home. Kansas City has become home to me, too.”