Looking for something stylish to wear to the next Philadelphia Eagles game?
Pittsburgh-based fashion designer Kiya Tomlin is here to help. Tomlin has partnered with the NFL to create Kiya Tomlin X NFL, an officially licensed collection of stylish women’s game day apparel. Almost 41% of NFL fans are women.
“When we selected the teams for the lineup, we knew it had to be a mix of AFC and NFC teams, but we also wanted to make teams that had a similar climate to Pittsburgh,” Tomlin said.
“One of the obvious choices was the Eagles,” he added. “They have a similar climate to Pittsburgh and the team really has a great color scheme with black, green, silver and gray.”
In addition to the Eagles, the collection is available for nine other teams, including the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Commanders. The collection will expand to include other teams in 2023.
The seven-piece clothing collection is designed, milled and created in the USA and is made from sustainable bamboo blends.
The limited edition collection starts at $69 and is currently available at www.kiyatomlin.us. The collection will also be available at www.nflshop.com in October.
“I prefer the polar sweatshirt; it’s a soft fabric that’s also comfortable,” Tomlin said. “I knew I wanted to bring that into the NFL collection.
“The collection itself offers unique pieces that you can wear to the games and mix and match with your regular wardrobe, whether it’s for work, a night out, running errands or hanging out with friends,” he added.
Tomlin, who is married to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, is no stranger to football-inspired fashions. For the past two years, he’s sold his own collection of black and gold looks, but this is the first time one of his collections has been officially licensed by the NFL.
Tomlin, however, said he originally had no plans to start his own NFL collection.
“I’m not a football person and I never wore any clothes; it just didn’t fit my personal style,” said Tomlin.
“When I first got to Pittsburgh, I had my own store and people would always ask if I sold NFL gear in my store,” he said. “It made me think that maybe there are women who want to wear NFL gear, but don’t because it doesn’t fit their own aesthetic.
“I took a chance and designed a Steelers-inspired collection for women in black and yellow,” she added. “The line was a hit. I finally reached out to the NFL to see about getting a license. It took a couple of years, but the line is here.”
A native of New Jersey, Tomlin became interested in fashion as a child. At the age of 10, he asked his mother for a sewing machine. In middle school, she started making all her own clothes and designed her own prom dress in high school.
“My mom didn’t sew or have any interest in fashion, but she took Home Ec in eighth grade,” Tomlin said. “We read the sewing machine manual together and from there I started making my own clothes for myself, friends and family.
“I even took my sewing machine to college,” she added. “I made clothes for my college roommate, my gym coach and for different events. That’s how I made extra money.”
Upon graduating from The College of William and Mary, where Tomlin studied pre-med, he married. After learning that her husband wanted to become a college football coach, she learned that he would be moving frequently, making it difficult to apply to medical school.
Tomlin would move on to Arkansas, Ohio, Florida and eventually Pennsylvania. While in Ohio, she enrolled in the University of Cincinnati’s fashion design program.
She would later become a fashion designer and launched the fashion brand The Kiya Tomlin in 2014. The brand offers practical, versatile and stylish clothing for women.
In the fall, Tomlin launched the brand’s first plus-size collection. She also hopes to launch her own fragrance in the future.
“What makes the Kiya Tomlin brand unique is that we’re always looking to reuse fabric,” said Tomlin. “Because we manufacture in house, we have better control over how things are distributed and we really minimize waste and reallocate the fabric to other areas.
“With our main collection, when we start new styles each season, we create them in small batches,” she said. “We see how they sell and if they sell well, we make more. If they don’t sell, we stop making them so as not to waste product, fabric and time.
“I use the same fabric for the entire collection, which is a blend of bamboo, cotton and spandex,” she added. “Then we just reassign that fabric to another design.”
Tomlin said the advice he would give to future business owners is to pay attention to marketing their business.
“When I started my business, the biggest thing I wanted to do was create,” Tomlin said. “I didn’t realize the role that marketing needed in my business.
“I thought, if you make something nice, people will come to buy it, but if they don’t know, they can’t come to buy it,” he added. “Marketing plays an important role in every business.”