Making an Impact: Fashion Designer Kyle Denman

Kyle Denman is a multifaceted fashion designer who has devoted his work to creating and giving back. Denman is making a mark in every possible manner within the fashion world. Kyle Denman is a talented designer whose mission is to use his platform and privilege to create social change, share cultural narratives, and humanize the experiences of underserved communities. Kyle feels that his pieces tell a story, and he expands upon that. Currently, Denman teaches fashion design and art to at-promise youth in Los Angeles, California. Many of his students have experienced trauma, such as trafficking, homelessness, gang violence, incarceration, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Through the lenses of fashion, art, and design, Denman teaches these youth much more—a former student explained that his programming saved her life, and another explained that it taught her how to love herself.


Denman has received a multitude of accolades as well. He was the Grand Prize Winner of the Project Runway Remake It Work Contest in 2016, was a member of the wardrobe team for Beyoncé during the 2018 Coachella Music Festival, received the 18 of the Last 9 Award, and was named the Young Fashion Designer of the Year in 2018. In 2019, he received an International Design Award and was also named a 30 Under 30 Changemaker in Education in 2021.


Denman’s New York Fashion Week collection, “mul·ti·po·lar—ex·ist·ence,” is inspired by the interconnectivity and the multidimensionality of the human experience. It demonstrates the capacity of the human condition and how we as people are interdependent elements whose souls become intertwined through chance and circumstance. It is a conceptual, personal, and poetic vision of what humanity was, is and will be; it is both an homage and a criticism of the dissociation and derealization of relationships in our own lives. “mul·ti·po·lar—ex·ist·ence” can best be summarized in just six words: soulmates will always find a way.


DEREALIZATION - Photo - Ilya S. Savenok
Derealization is inspired by the idea of soulmates meeting for the first and only time, introducing the face silhouettes more concretely in the sleeves and body of the jacket. The skirt is embroidered with two pieces of continuous line art, resembling faces. One face is embroidered in yellow thread, and the other in white. These faces are meant to represent two souls intersecting once and then never meeting again. The thread overlaps only once and is left intact at the end of each piece of line art, symbolizing that the two souls’ lives will continue on their own. Derealization could best be summarized with the thought of “what could have been.” (Kyle Denman)

When Kyle took a break from designing, he spoke with Gemma Magazine, about teaching, his fashion career, and thoughts on the industry. Let's get into it!


Have you always been interested in fashion design?

I have always been interested in fashion design. Ever since I was young, I have been drawing clothes on characters from my favorite books, movies, and video games. It was only recently when I felt the need to pursue my love of art and design.


What do you think of the fashion industry?

The industry is fascinating. It is highly competitive and filled with so many creative people who challenge and inspire me.



CIRCULARITY - Photo - Ilya S Savenok


Did you train formally?

Initially, I studied political science and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In 2016, I moved to Los Angeles to look at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM). I had no experience sewing or designing but tried to learn as quickly as possible. I graduated from FIDM in two different programs with two different degrees as a Valedictorian.

Tell us about Project Runway.

I was fortunate to be the Grand Prize Winner of the Project Runway Remake It Work Contest in 2016. I competed against people via an online and virtual contest. It was a great experience that helped propel my name and brand.


CATHARSIS - Photo - Ilya S. Savenok

Would you please tell us about your NYFW collection?

My New York Fashion Week collection, “mul·ti·po·lar—ex·ist·ence,” is inspired by the interconnectivity and the multidimensionality of the human experience. It demonstrates the capacity of the human condition and how we as people are interdependent elements whose souls become intertwined through chance and circumstance. It is a conceptual, personal, and poetic vision of what humanity was, is and will be; it is both an homage and a criticism of the dissociation and derealization of relationships in our own lives. “mul·ti·po·lar—ex·ist·ence” can best be summarized in just six words: soulmates will always find a way.

What was the experience of NYFW like? It was amazing! There was so much pressure, but I had a fantastic experience. My models were AMAZING. Some of my closest friends were in the audience, and to see so much of their support was very special to me. So many people have put their lives on hold for my sake, and I wanted to honor all of them through my NYFW show.



HOMEOSTASIS - Photo - Ilya S. Savenok

What advice do you give to your students now?"Effort beats talent every time!" This is one of my life mottos, and I try to share this with them as much as possible. It is so essential to work hard, stay humble, and be kind to others.

How do you create a vision when designing, and do you feel your pieces tell a story? My work is very much ingrained in stories, whether they directly relate to me or not. I hope to share experiences with others when I create and design.

What was the experience of NYFW like? It was amazing! There was so much pressure, but I had a fantastic experience. My models were AMAZING. Some of my closest friends were in the audience, and to see so much of their support was very special to me. So many people have put their lives on hold for my sake, and I wanted to honor all of them through my NYFW show.



HOMEOSTASIS - Photo - Ilya Savenok

You graduated as an Outstanding Design Student, as Valedictorian, and admitted to the Advanced Study Design Program, correct? How did you remain so focused? I try to remind myself of my goals and the sacrifices that I and many others made to get me where I am today. I have an exceptional team of people behind me, and I never want to let them down.

What was it like to work with a team of wardrobe assistants for the most powerful woman in entertainment (cover of Forbes)? It was a lot of pressure but so much fun! Everyone was so kind to me. I was offered this opportunity through my mentor, who has always been so gracious. I had only recently learned how to sew when working on this team, so it was a wonderful learning experience.

Where do you see yourself in 2-3 years?

I hope to be happy, healthy, and working with amazing people!


Kyle Denman

To learn more about Kyle Denman, follow his Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/thekyledenman/

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