‘Let Me Be Me’: Drexel University grad and fashion designer’s journey with autism becomes film | Meet Kyle Westphal

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — It’s a film that’s being called both heartbreaking and hopeful.

“Let Me Be Me” is the real story of a Newtown Square, Pennsylvania man who found a way to communicate with autism through fashion.

Kyle Westphal says: “Everyone is on their own journey. I just want to be me.”

And that is precisely how he lives. He’s hand-crafted a career and a life of his own design.

Westphal hopes his story of living with autism brings you hope and a little bit of magic.

Action News’ Alicia Vitarelli met the emerging fashion designer where it all started — at the design studio at his alma mater Drexel University.

“This is where dreams are made and where you make them,” he says, while reminiscing in his old workspaces.

As a child, Westphal was mostly nonverbal and kept to himself.

His family says back in the 1990s, autism meant a life spent in an institution. But the Westphals took a different approach.

In their documentary, we see the programs and meet the people helping Westphal find his voice.

“Six-year-old Westphal was in my own little world,” Westphal says. “I used blankets as a shield and sanctuary.”

Later, that fabric he used to hide became a way to show himself.

It’s something he learned in his favorite Disney film, ‘Cinderella.’

“I wanted to be the Fairy Godmother with a magic wand and make people feel special,” Westphal says. “Later, as a teenager and as a young adult, that led me to fashion.”

From sketching and fashion shows in his backyard, Westphal then honed his art at Drexel.

“I used to be in here maybe 10 hours, 15 hours a day,” he says, walking around the design spaces.

Now working on his own collection, Westphal and his family brought their story to the big screen to inspire everyone to find their own magic.

“Let me be me, that’s the whole story,” Westphal says. “Imperfection is perfect.”

“Let Me Be Me” is streaming now. Click here to learn more.

Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Related Posts

Previous post Clothing Store Lions Not Sheep Was Faking Made in USA Labels
Next post Fashion’s Dealmaking Dilemma: Few Buyers, Many Sellers