Kiya Tomlin making her mark in fashion

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Football players seem to live in sweats, but for Kiya Tomlin, wife of Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin, sweats are about stepping out in style, not just hanging out in a locker room or going to the gym.

Tomlin, who has been featured on HBO's State of the Play for how she manages her career, football and family, started Uptown Sweats to give women a comfortable, stylish option that they can take from the boardroom to a night on the town. She has taken the comfort of sweats, and turned them into dresses that can go from day to night, rompers, scarves and more.

Tomlin feels while women love the ease and feel of workout clothes, it would be fun to take the look beyond the normal use of going to the gym and running errands.

"Modern women are so busy and multitasking in a variety of situations, so I just wanted that comfort of being in workout clothes you see everyone running around in, but yet it needs to be appropriate because we have real places to go," said Tomlin. "I created Uptown Sweats to combine the comfort, versatility and style any woman is looking for. The pieces are versatile and I like to include pieces that are flattering to all different figure types."

Tomlin began designing clothes because her petite frame often times made it difficult to find the right fit in styles off the rack. In recent years she has taken making clothes for herself, family and friends to a new level, with custom designs for individual body types, including yearly designs featured in the Steelers Style Fashion Show. And the next step was Uptown Sweats.

What was once a design studio for Tomlin has now been transformed into a stylish boutique, featuring the Uptown Sweats line and handbags and jewelry by Sandra Cadavid, which features the full-line of Pittsburgh designer Sandra Reiman. The boutique, located on Broad Street in Pittsburgh's Indigo Square development, held its grand opening on Saturday night, featuring a fashion show that highlighted both designers and had guests flocking into the store afterwards to purchase the amazing selection.

"This has been a goal of mine for a long time, so I am really excited to see it come together and celebrate it with friends and family," said Tomlin. "This is a dream come true. It's really exciting, but it's really small in my grand plan. I want world dominance in sweats."

The relationship between Tomlin and Reiman was formed travelling in the same fashion designer circle, and quickly turned into a friendship, and now a perfect business partnership. The two women share the same vision, and have put their heart and soul into making the boutique the gem that is.

"We are both very similar," said Tomlin. "We have similar goals and similar backgrounds. We are both women entrepreneurs, moms and wives. And we both have a dream."

Reiman has had the luxury handbag line and jewelry featured in Vogue, Glamour and on NBC's Today Show. She also was featured in a coveted trunk show at Henry Bendel in New York City.

"I met Kiya when we were doing an interview together," said Reiman. "We hit it off immediately. We had so much in common. We are trying to make our dreams come true and have the same passion. The bond was instantly.

Kiya Tomlin Uptown Sweats and Sandra CaDavid handbags opened a new boutique in Pittsburgh's Indigo Square development.

"Being here (for the boutique opening), it's surreal. I don't even believe it's happening. It's so exciting. And to have someone like Kiya be a partner in this is just extraordinary. I have no words. I am so excited."

Reiman, who was born in Columbia, eventually landed in Pittsburgh when her husband attended graduate school at Carnegie Mellon. Her company is operated out of Pittsburgh, but she hasn't forgotten her roots either as artisans in Columbia create the handbags from her designs, and she works with women who have lost their husbands to violence, teaching them skills to make their lives better.

"I started out wanting to do this because it's a dream of mine," said Reiman. "Through the process and being able to touch these women's lives, it's transformed into a different purpose for me."

The Uptown Sweats by Kiya Tomlin/Sandra Cadavid Boutique is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., located at 5983 Broad Street. Designs are also available on their websites at www.kiyatomlin.com and www.sandracadavid.com.

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