McGee Behind It All
As a child, it was evident Daykeyla (Day-kee-lah) McGee would be an overall creative person. She began at the delicate age of five writing short children narratives, such as the most memorable "Money Mustache". It was only natural for her to start illustrating the stories bringing an imagination to life. Lena recognized her daughter's God given talents early and nurtured them by turning McGee's room into a studio filled with numerous artistic tools, a desk, and typewriter. Sometimes Daykeyla would be so involved in her imaginative world, Lena would force her to take a break to go outside and play with other children.
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York meant spending long and harsh winters inside and McGee would often turn snow days into design days. Remembering the day fashion took over her heart she explains:
"It was during third grade class if I recall, and a friend asked me 'do you know how to draw dresses'? With a perplexing look I answered 'no'. Drawing dresses never crossed my mind; writing stories was my first love. Grabbing a sheet of paper, she starts to draw a dress. Antennas risen, my light bulb blew out and I began to illustrate this purple dress I wanted to wear. Not knowing fashion design was a possible career, drawing that first dress immersed me into a dream. As long as I had some paper, crayons, markers, and an idea my life felt complete."
Leaving her mark, in June 2006 McGee graduated from McKinley Vocational High with many artistic achievements such as an honorable mention in National Junior Duck Stamp contest, channel 7 news mascot logo contestant, and many more. To further her artistic knowledge, she began attending Columbus College of Art of Design (CCAD) in January 2007 with scholarships awarded by the institute, Allentown Society, and Buffalo Urban League.
"People have always asked me, 'why go to school for fashion or why CCAD'? Well look at their curriculum! It is all about art and they even had a journalism minor. Algebra was not my favorite subject, and I did not see a calculus requirement. CCAD focused on everything creative. Even the liberal arts classes incorporated art somehow. It offered a community of other people just like me; weird, funny, experimental, and passionate. Honestly CCAD reminded me of Hogwarts!" she laughed.
"Other schools focused on the fashion industry, and yes I love fashion but I wanted to do everything creative. Feeling like I already knew how to narrate and illustrate well, majoring in fashion was an easy choice because I did not know how to construct, or pattern garments; to bring my binder full of dress drawings that I had built over the course of ten years to life."
By May 2011, McGee had mastered fashion illustration, digital techniques, color concepts, pattern-making, and many other visionary skills. Surviving CCAD was an amazing experience she reminisces:
"Long nights, hard work, and lots of tears. As a single mother, full-time student, and part-time employee I had to balance my personal responsibility of raising a child with the objectives needed to obtain my degree. There were so many times I wanted to give up, but God wouldn't allow me. Wanting to show my son the meaning of strength amidst struggle I pressed on, and when it was time to walk across the graduation stage I took him with me. Receiving my Bachelor's degree was one of the proudest moments of my life. Through all the nights I stayed up to complete homework while my child slept; fighting my tears of worry and disappointment, I worked hard and achieved my goal exceedingly with a 3.2 GPA. I wouldn't change anything about that experience because it was preparation for the next journey, this business. Nothing but God and his blessings."
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