Inspiring Lives Magazine Spring 2017: Issue 4 - Page 93

Dress, which is the sweatshirt dress. It was really just for me, but when I would wear it, people would stop me left and right and ask where I got it. So I thought I would make some of these and just keep them in my studio for some custom clients if they want to buy them on the side. Also, when people would knock on the door just to see what I did, there was stuff they could buy.” Through making those dresses, Tomlin also learned the processes of pre-work and ready-to-wear. She learned about designing dresses and sending the design off to someone else to make multiple copies of it into actual clothing in different sizes. Now she has a storefront for her line where she can show customers how to mix and match pieces and, most importantly, where customers can give her direct feedback. Tomlin is also starting to have her pieces manufactured locally. “We started making last season’s line here ourselves. It’s always been in my plan to manufacture locally because I can be more hands-on. I can be more attentive to it, as well as eliminate a lot of the waste—whether it’s leftover waste or producing more than I need—because when you go to another factory, they have minimums. So you’re kind of stuck making X amount. Well when X amount doesn’t sell, I just don’t want to work that way. It’s very wasteful. So it was always my intention to bring a factory here. Then I had some logistical issues with my mill in Los Angeles where they had a machine break, and I couldn’t get the fabric to the factory in time to get it out to some interna- tional orders for stores in Europe. We had to get those orders to Europe, so I just had the fabric sent here, and we leased a space and cranked those out.” As a result, Tomlin’s factory will be coming sooner rather than later. As for Tomlin’s upcoming spring line, she says to expect lighter fabrics. “For our spring line, we lighten the fabrics, to a super lightweight jersey modal. We kind of recreated some of our other styles in a lighter weight, and a little bit drapi- er. We’ve got a nice neutral, light color palate. To me it’s more…more uptown!” Tomlin exclaimed satisfactorily. It may have taken some time to get to the place she is now, but the forces of the universe knew where Tomlin belonged all along. She was meant to grace the fashion world with her incredible presence. What advice does she have for others who hope to follow their dreams? “Figure out what you love to do and find a way to make mon- ey doing it.” The more she sticks with it, the bigger she grows. Expect big things out of Kiya Tomlin and Uptown Sweats not only this coming season, but in the long-term future as well. n