FAIRFIELD — Former Fairfield resident and celebrity fashion designer Kym Stylz – born Kimmeshann Sherman – began dreaming of pursuing her chosen profession at a young age.
Her passion was not born by perusing the pages of fashion magazines, however, but rather superhero comic books. A fateful meeting with a “real-life” comic book/TV show heroine in Fairfield was the catalyst.
“I used to love comic books – Marvel, DC and some underground ones as well,” Stylz said. “I remember being a kid and going over to Kmart on North Texas and She-Ra was there signing autographs. As a child it was fascinating to see her live and in your face. That’s what made it so easy for me to go into fashion. You mean, I can make this sketch and then actually put it on a runway? Really? Fashion gave me the ability to create a pattern and make it come to life.”
Stylz was born in the Los Angeles area, but moved to Fairfield as a baby and was raised by her uncle and aunt, James and Ida Singletary. She lived on Elmhurst Circle and attended several Fairfield schools and credits the multiculturalism of the area to her later success.
“I went to Amy Blanc and was accepted into the GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) program. I super-excelled there and skipped two grades,” Stylz said. “I then went to Dover Middle School and Fairfield High. I can attest to the quality of the education that I received in Fairfield. I got to have a childhood of diversity and play with children from different races and from different places. It was more of a melting pot than Los Angeles is.”
Stylz went down the wrong path when her mother passed away when she was 15, she said. She moved back to Los Angeles and went through rebellion, grief and anger.
“I went clear to Mississippi and Texas at 16 years old and got pregnant and had my son. Domestic violence is why I lost custody of my son. I later started hanging out with gang members and was incarcerated in 1999 for robbery. I was at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla for about 16 months,” Stylz said.
After paroling, Styles moved back to the Bay Area and worked at the Denny’s on Holiday lane and also at the mall. She decided to pursue a fashion career and attended the Academy of Couture Arts in Beverly Hills.
“Education made the difference for me and took me from wanting to do it to actually doing it,” Stylz said.
Stylz has been in the fashion industry now for 10 years and had several celebrity clients.
“(Late R& B singer) Teena Marie opened the door for me and she put a lot of people in my path. Thanks to her a lot of things opened up,” Stylz said. “My first huge success was actually having someone like Angela Simmons wear me on BET and represent my brand and give me props and a lot of love. Nobody had taken what I was doing seriously until that point so that was a great moment for me. Other celebrity clients include Bishop Don “Magic” Juan and Sheila E.”
At the Vancouver Fashion Week in March, Stylz showcased her “Passport Collection” designed to take attendees on a journey. She made a splash with the 12 unique pieces she designed and also by sending a sweat suit down the runway as her opening piece. That decision reflected her philosophy of having people expect the unexpected.
“I am known for my fancy dresses, but I also did pants and street wear. It was all still classy and elegant, well-made and in line with giving women quality options,” Stylz said.
Next up for Stylz is her fall collection and she is also releasing her first book around Mother’s Day entitled “Lifestylz.”
Stylz designs on a client-to-client basis and can start from photos they bring in and work in her own ideas, or create a sketch and then, ala She-Ra, make it come to life.
“I do have my own line, the KymCouture Kollection, that I want everyone to see and to buy, but I like doing personalized stuff,” Stylz said. “If a client has certain requirements for a fashion line and needs help with it, I’m that girl. I like clients that reject trends because that gives me an opportunity to explore.”
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org