Best Fashion Designer: Kiya Tomlin 2021 | People + Places | Pittsburgh

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Best Fashion Designer: Kiya Tomlin

A busy day could include anything from a playdate to a work meeting, from picking your kids up from school to a date night out on the town. The variety of daily to-do lists can necessitate an outfit change or two throughout the day, but Kiya Tomlin’s designs are made to be versatile and flattering no matter where you go.

Tomlin launched her initial collection of sweatsuits in fall 2014, and recently released her latest fall/winter collection in September. Named this year’s Best of Pittsburgh readers’ poll winner for Best Fashion Designer, Tomlin blends comfort, function, and figure-flattering cuts that alternate between hugging the body and flaring out to create chic silhouettes.

Many of Tomlin’s designs feature natural, earthy colors and rich jewel tones that give a vivid pop of color to one’s wardrobe, whether as the main piece for her Signature Dress — a reverse hi-lo dress with a stylish cowl neck, fitted waist, and sizeable pockets — or as an accent or accessory like the Waist Scrunchie.

Her clothes are also made in Pittsburgh. According to her site, they’re “very proud that our products are cut and sewn all in the USA.”

Tomlin also has a collection of designer masks featuring patterns such as scales and snake print, along with more subtle striped and monochrome options. Earlier in the pandemic, Tomlin and her crew of four staff members from her Etna-based store created hundreds of masks each week to donate to hospital systems around the country before opening up sales to individuals.

Tomlin’s “Coach T Collection” is inspired by her husband, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, and features common sayings from the coach in shirts designed for any gender. Tomlin and her husband have lived in Pittsburgh for 14 years with their three children, Michael Dean, Mason, and Harlyn Quinn.

Tomlin grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, before attending the College of William and Mary, where she met Mike. She was a pre-med student and, if she weren’t a fashion designer, she says she would be a pathologist or taxidermist, which she connects to her current career through the shared analysis of the body, cutting, and sewing.

Her shop is open everyday except for Sunday and Monday.
Kiya Tomlin. 388 Butler St., Etna.