Pioneering Sustainable Fashion And American-Made Apparel

As a child, Kiya Tomlin said she wanted to be a doctor. The impressed responses and encouragement from adults make “doctor” a common aspiration for many kids. Additionally, her mother’s example of financial independence influenced her desire for stability and a clear career path. However, alongside this practical goal, Kiya harbored a passion for sewing, design, and fashion. As a child she also played around with designs and clothing. She even took her sewing machine with her to college. “All along that way, I always sewed and designed. I loved to do it. It was kind of my self care.”

Taking The Road Less Traveled, While On The Road

When the time came to take the MCAT, a medical school qualifying exam, Tomlin did not go to the test center. After some soul-searching, she decided to pursue fashion. Her first foray was a short-lived apprenticeship with a tailor. While on the road with her football coach husband, she attended fashion courses, honing her skills and discovering her own path. Eventually, her determination led her to launch her custom design business, initially focusing on wedding gowns. She grew that business to work with all kinds of clients. In 2014, she founded the Kiya Tomlin fashion brand, offering practical, versatile, and stylish clothing. Her line is and always has been size inclusive. This is important to Tomlin, who wants her designs to celebrate all women.

Building A Sustainable, American-Made Brand

Another of Tomlin’s personal and business values is a commitment to sustainability. While she has an NFL license and makes a line of fashionable “game day” pieces, this is not fast fashion. Kiya recognized the urgent need to address issues like fabric waste and overproduction in the fashion industry. To make a positive impact, she is working on establishing a vertically integrated factory, allowing her to produce new collections on a small scale. This approach not only ensures greater control over the production process but also minimizes waste, creating a more sustainable model.

Her line is proudly American-made, emphasizing quality craftsmanship and supporting local communities. From fabric to production, sustainability, opportunity and commitment to community are woven into the brand.

Commitment To Service As A Business Practice

This focus on people and community surfaced early in the history of the business. In 2015, just a year after Kiya Tomlin created her first full line, Hurricane Harvey struck, devastating the Houston area. The line had not launched as she would have liked and the excess inventory was sitting and available for a new purpose. “It was sitting in my workspace for quite a while.The season ended and I had all of this stuff. And then watching the hurricane and what had happened and what was going on down there and I thought, I wonder if they need stuff?” Tomlin tells the story of reaching out to the wife of Houston Texan’s head coach. She then rallied other wives and connected with a school in one of the most impacted areas of Houston. They made sure storm survivors had the opportunity to feel the sense of normalcy and dignity the comes with feeling good in your clothes.

That was not Tomlin’s first time responding to communities in need. During the pandemic, she and her team sewed masks to help those who needed them. She has also upcycled fabric scraps into dolls, neck rolls and other items to comfort hospice patients and special needs children.

As a successful entrepreneur, Kiya emphasizes education and transparency. By educating customers about sustainability and sharing her business practices, she hopes to inspire informed choices. In a world where fast fashion dominates the industry, Kiya Tomlin stands out as a beacon of sustainability, creativity, and integrity, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps and make a difference in the world of fashion and beyond.

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