Pittsburgh-based designer Kiya Tomlin's journey in fashion will be featured tonight on the Aspire TV network's show "Exhale."
On the program, viewers will learn about Ms. Tomlin's career path and what it's like to be an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. In advance of the show, the network released the following about Ms. Tomlin's background:
Kiya Tomlin discovered her love of fashion at a young age when she began making dresses for her dolls from homemade paper towels. At eleven Kiya was given a sewing machine. She has been designing ever since and has turned her talent into a decade-long career in fashion with her ready-to-wear apparel brand Uptown Sweats by Kiya Tomlin and a flagship boutique.
Throughout her childhood fashion was always a creative outlet and passion but not something Tomlin considered a career goal. She attended The College of William and Mary on a competitive gymnastics scholarship and had plans to become a doctor. Her life changed course when she met fellow student Mike Tomlin, currently the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The pair married right after graduation and Mike’s trajectory in the world of football began to take off.
While Mike coached at a college level and the Tomlins became parents, Kiya utilized fashion design and sewing as a creative outlet. She studied formally for several years at the universities where her husband was coaching and took classes in fit and garment construction honing her skills and developing her own creative voice as a designer. Kiya would frequently get stopped on the street by women asking about her outfit. Her natural entrepreneurial instinct kicked in and Kiya realize she might be on to something. So when Coach Tomlin joined the NFL in 2001, Kiya launched her business, first with a focus on custom design and in 2013 with a ready to wear collection, Uptown Sweats by Kiya Tomlin.
The program begins at 9 p.m. Information: exhale.aspire.tv/about (Photo: Kiya Tomlin, right, with her assistant Brittany Meyer in the flagship boutique Ms. Tomlin shares with Sandra Cadavid handbags and jewelry in East Liberty. Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette)