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Fashion designer creates dream prom gown for Buffalo student

"I always felt like I wasn't good enough. It was important to me to make sure another woman didn't feel that," said Daykeyla McGee.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — By day, Daykeyla McGee is a bookkeeper at National Fuel and a single mom of two. Every other waking moment, she is following her passion: fashion design.

"It isn't easy. I literally go from one job to the next every day," Daykeyla said.

Daykeyla creates wearable works of art from her home loft in Buffalo. 

Her couture lines have graced the runways in London and Paris fashion weeks, and they've been seen on the pages of Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan magazines in Europe.

She even made a gown for actress Tiffany Haddish and personally delivered it to her.

"I still find myself pursuing that dream dress," Daykeyla said. "I have not yet achieved it because as an artist I'm always like, 'I can do better. I'm always striving to outdo myself.'"  

Daykeyla started to pursue fashion design back in her days at McKinley High School in Buffalo when she says she was mocked and shamed because of her weight.

"I've suffered from low self-esteem because of the bullying that I went through because I always felt like I wasn't good enough. It was important to me to make sure another woman didn't feel that, or that when she did feel that, I somehow made her feel better. That's where I get my drive from," Daykeyla said.

That is what makes Daykeyla's latest gown extra special. National Fuel held a contest for Buffalo students to apply for Daykeyla to create a prom gown for them for free. 

Ticara, a senior at Hutch Tech, wrote a touching essay and won. Now she's working with Daykeyla to create her dream dress. 

"This is really, really exciting and I'm really thankful for all of this," Ticara said.

Daykeyla said the gown has all the trappings: beading, flowers, silks, toile, boning and more and estimates it could be worth over $3,000 in the end. 

"We want to reward someone like that who's in a struggle yet persevering," she said.

Daykeyla was once in those shoes herself. She is a mother to 15 and 10-year-old sons. She became pregnant with her first son just before starting at Columbus College of Art and Design. She did not let that stop her and still graduated in under 4 years. 

So now she's paying it forward with a gown, and inspiring others stitch by stitch.

"It's like a real Cinderella moment and I'm part of the Fairy Godmother team," Daykeyla said.

The team also includes hair, makeup, and custom jewelry all donated by local vendors as part of this National Fuel program. 

Ticara's prom is June 9, and Channel 2 will unveil that Cinderella moment following the big day.

As Daykeyla works to create that perfect dress, she has other big dreams. She's working on a ready-to-wear clothing line, and she says she's like to bring high fashion to Buffalo by one day hosting a Met Gala type of event in the Queen City.

To learn more about Daykeyla and her fashion line, click here. Email her Daykeyla@daykeyla.com . 

Follow her on Facebook here and Instagram here.

To learn more about National Fuel's prom dress giveaway, see the story below.

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