Bree Hylkema & Kyra
About Bree Hylkema
A California native, Bree Hylkema developed a penchant for career wear at age seven, insisting on donning a skirt suit and tie to school. After completing her degree at University of California, Berkeley, Bree worked as a project manager at a tech company. Several years later, she cut her teeth sewing theater costumes. The theater is where Bree met Kyra (also an FiSF Designer in Residence), who would become her business partner.
Today, Bree Hylkema is an established Bay Area costume designer and, together with Kyra, co-founder of Vermeulen & Co. Vermeulen offers beautifully fitted career wear for women with curves, whether size four or 14. The company is founded on a commitment to slow fashion.
Bree is an active member of the Oakland-based Five Ton Crane artist collective, which has exhibited in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. While roaming the Gobi Desert in 2012, Bree visited visiting Mongolian felters. Bree’s set and wardrobe design clients include HBO, Showtime, The New York Times Magazine and 7x7 Magazine. Her work has been featured in Vogue.
Kyra has an eclectic background in finance and theatrical costume design, patterning and construction. She completed her MBA at Mills College’s Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business and was a recipient of the Financial Women’s Association of San Francisco scholarship, as well as the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women business leadership scholarship. Kyra wrote her undergraduate thesis on sustainable fashion and draws inspiration from slow fashion, costume design and a desire to empower professional women. For the past six years, she has specialized in accounting consulting and operations development for Bay Area fashion companies.
When Kyra met Bree Hylkema (also an FiSF Designer in Residence), both bonded over a mutual love of quality clothing and a shared passion for ethical business. As Kyra’s career advanced, she discovered a lack of garments made with beautiful fabrics, exciting designs and realistic sizing. Bree and others, too, shared this frustration. Thus, Vermeulen & Co. – a company committed to women’s tailored business apparel – was born.
Kyra has worked as a costume design assistant for Cal Shakes and Brian Boitano’s Christmas skating show, as well as designed for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music graduate projects. Kyra also teaches East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop and Blues dancing.
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