Kevin Tempelman

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Kevin Tempelman and I’m an architectural designer by profession, and I also run an apparel brand called RegionWear.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Northwest Indiana – Munster, specifically. Currently I spend a lot of time in the Chicago area and Michigan for work and other obligations, but I still call the Region home.

How did you get started?

I love to travel. In some of my more recent trips around the Midwest, I noticed brands that were designing/selling apparel and products showcasing their local pride. People love to show where they’re from, and these brands were giving people a way to do that. It got me thinking about my home in Northwest Indiana and some of the ways we identify ourselves. I wanted to provide our Region with that same platform I had seen emerging elsewhere. I started RegionWear with a couple designs based on some of our identifying elements and people responded really positively.  

Do you have a side hustle or hobbies?

RegionWear is basically my graphic design hobby that’s grown into a side hustle. In addition to architecture, graphic design, and branding I also enjoy traveling and photography.

What was one of your biggest mistakes and what did you learn from it?

I’ve been learning not to over-think things, sometimes you just have to try something and see what happens. It’s my tendency to want everything planned and in place before starting a project.  Sure, it’s an ideal goal, but it often means that my projects never get off of the drawing board. With RegionWear I’ve been learning that while planning is valuable, sometimes it’s just as valuable to act then react.  I’m finding that it’s an important part of the creative process – get things moving and learn as you go.

What are the top tools you need to do your job?

Most designs begin as a sketch. For me, hand sketching is still the quickest and most direct way of exploring concepts and ideas. Once I’m happy with a sketch, I use Adobe Illustrator to finalize a new design digitally. I also use Photoshop for producing mock-ups of apparel or products.

Who or what inspires you and why?

At the root of my design work – for both architecture and RegionWear – is an interest in regional identity. I’m inspired by new places and understanding what makes those places distinct. I try to dissect the physical and cultural make-up and then highlight those components to help tell the story of that place. There’s far too much homogeneous design in the world today – it’s the differences and nuances that make us interesting.

What do you love about Northwest Indiana?

There’s so much energy in the Region right now – I feel like Northwest Indiana is in this stage of forging our own identity. We’re really coming into our own and showing what we’re all about. I see such a surge of creativity and there’s opportunity here for people to put  themselves and their work out there. And they’re doing it in a way that’s unapologetic. My designs try to tap into that energy and help build the momentum in the Region by providing bold, stylish, and meaningful pieces which people can wear with the same pride they put into their work.

What resources are you finding to educate yourself?

I rely a lot on my contacts and connections. I ask a lot of questions. When I started RegionWear I knew nothing about running a small business. As new challenges come up I learn on the fly. I look to other brands that are doing things that I want to do, or ask questions of those around me who are working on the same things. I love going to markets and events because I get to connect with other makers and ask them about what they do and how they do it.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?

Pay attention to all your interests and pursue them individually – it’s ok to spend time learning and growing in an interest that may seem unrelated to your profession.. Architecture is my first love, but it’s led me to realize that I’m also interested in other areas – travel, photography, branding, graphic design, etc. Things build on each other – what I learn from one hobby often informs both my architectural work and my small business. I believe that future professions will be less focused on specializing in one skill and more about our abilities to collaborate with others and explore multiple interests.

What’s next for you?

In my architectural career, I’m in the process of obtaining my license, with the goal of someday opening my own firm and working on place-specific designs.

RegionWear is in the middle of a rebranding effort and will soon be rolled out as RegionMade. I’m looking forward to expanding the line beyond apparel and featuring more items made in the Region.

Where can we find you?

Facebook: RegionWear  

Instagram: @RegionWear (Keep an eye out for the rebrand to RegionMade)

Instagram:  @k_temp_ (My personal account)