Kayla Lien


The diversity and importance of Black-owned businesses in Salt Lake City


From the moment I laid eyes on a Vogue magazine, I’ve wanted to have my name on its pages. Fashion and clothing have been a part of my life since I was 12, when I started learning how to sew costumes. 

So often, I was told there was no market for someone like me. I didn’t look like those designers, the models walking the runway, not even the people watching in the stands. It became abundantly obvious that, if I wanted a seat at the table, I would have to make one. My interest in this, heightened by the volatile sociopolitical climate from the past year, led me to my story idea, highlighting clothing brands and creators of color.

Originally, I had wanted to talk to people of color from all regions and was specifically interested in speaking with women. I was especially looking for people of Asian descent because I wanted to see how COVID has impacted their business. However, all my sources ended up being Black men, coincidentally. 

I located sources from a lot of Google searching and scouring Instagram nonstop. It was hard to get responses from potential sources, even harder trying to coordinate schedules. Admittedly, I am not well-versed in Zoom, so that was a struggle for me while interviewing. At one point, I thought I had lost half an hour of content — my nails were chewed down to the quick. Luckily, everything righted itself, helped along with typing in Comic Sans font and video game soundtracks in the background.


Kayla Lien is a full-time student at the University of Utah, majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism. She attended East High School in Salt Lake City and was involved in the journalism class all throughout her time there. Having been an editor for two years, Kayla became the editor-in-chief her senior year. During her time at East, she won a few awards for her writing, such as First Place for Op/Ed writing in the Utah Futures of Journalism awards in 2018.

Kayla enjoys writing about and highlighting social issues, especially those that influence minority groups. As a queer woman of color, she recognizes the need for diversity and inclusion. As much as she loves to write, she vehemently detests writing autobiographies. 

Between school and work, she can be found crocheting, sewing, or making funky earrings. If not there, check under her 80-pound German Shepherd. She may have gotten lost.