Store-ies 06: Kiya Tomlin
A visual archive of Pittsburgh retailers & their stories.
What’s the story behind your career, the journey that has led you to where you are today with Kiya Tomlin?
The story is my life--the moves, the stages, the growth. Just constantly adapting to life changes, what works for me, what keeps me fulfilled and what gets me excited.
What has been inspiring you lately?
First and foremost is always comfort. Currently, I am inspired by drape and fluidity.
What is your most-prized clothing item?
A 1960's Mary Quant patchwork leather miniskirt my grandfather brought back from London for my Aunt. I used to wear it in college, but 20+ years and three babies later, it's still prized, just no longer my go-to. Maybe I should frame it in a shadow box.
What do you see for the future of your company?
I would love to be able to open another vertically integrated store/workshop in another part of the country.
Do you have any style regrets from your past? What is one trend you can see making a comeback soon?
I regret the dress I designed and made to wear to my Junior Prom! It was hideous! My poor date. But he was so kind, hopefully not embarrassed. If he was, he didn't show it. Trends on the comeback? Hats-- at least that's what I'm hoping. We are really missing the mark on all the fashion opportunities that a hat can bring.
Benefits and challenges are to having a store in Pgh?
Pittsburgh has been void of fashion for so long so I think people are really yearning for it now. Challenges? Bridges and tunnels are definitely a challenge! It take a lot to entice people to venture out of their neighborhood to check out a new place.
What have you learned from having a business? What mistakes have you made?
So much learning and too many mistakes to list! But mistakes are awesome learning opportunities. I've learned not to wait around for things to be perfect or someone to give me the right answer. The best way to learn is to take action, get feedback, and do better.
Which fashion designer or muse (dead or alive) would you love to collaborate with?
Donna Karan. She's all about comfort, versatility, ease, and drape, just like me.