PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Her husband is one of the best known people in Pittsburgh – Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
However, you may not know much about Kiya Tomlin.
As it turns out, she’s a talented clothing designer who has her own business.
She’s also a busy mom and someone who cares about giving back to the community.
Kiya hasn’t done many television interviews, but she recently agreed to sit down with KDKA for a segment on our new show, “Your Pittsburgh.”
Kiya Tomlin describes her fashion creations as simple, classic, slightly unusual and comfortable.
She fits, designs and sews everything herself from start to finish and uses only the finest fabric.
Kiya’s interest in fashion started when she made her first design at age 4.
She used white construction paper, scissors and tape to make a ballet tutu.
At age 11, she asked for a sewing machine.
“My mom taught me how to work the machine based off what she knew from home [economics],” Kiya said. “We started with one of those little duck pillows and then the next thing I was like, ‘I [want to] make a jumpsuit.’”
That jumpsuit parachuted Kiya’s desire and passion for design.
By high school, she not only sewed her prom dresses, but also ones for her sister, cousins and friends.
She went to college on a full gymnastics scholarship and was actually a pre-med major at William and Mary.
“To me it was kind of a hobby. I didn’t see it as really a career. There weren’t ‘Project Runway’ type shows that make you realize, ‘Oh, this is a viable career,’” Kiya said.
At William and Mary, Kiya met and fall in love with Mike Tomlin.
After graduation, they married and Kiya designed her own wedding dress.
During Tomlin’s early coaching years, Kiya attended workshops and took classes to hone her design skills.
She’s always had an interest in women’s formal wear, but admits she took a stab at men’s wear once.
“I got one of his shirts and measured his seam stitching and tried to do it exactly to the shirt he had and he picked it up and said, ‘Oh this is pretty good.’ And he put it on and looked in the mirror and the button down collar was [messed up],” Kiya said.
Kiya’s come a long way since that mishap.
She now works with private clients to create designs customized to their specific body type.
Eventually, she’d like to open a store to the public and sees nothing wrong with that store being right here in Pittsburgh.
“I love it here. We’ve never lived anywhere this long, so we’re comfortable. The people are great. They’re genuine,” Kiya said.
While it doesn’t have to do with fashion, for all the black and gold faithful, KDKA-TV’s Kimberly Gill had to ask one final question.
Gill: What do you think of Steelers Nation?
Kiya: It’s unbelievable. This is our third NFL team. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s really a cool experience.
When she’s not designing clothes, or running around behind her kids, she gives back to the community by talking to young girls about how to dress and what your clothes say about you.
For more information on Kiya’s designs visit her website here!