Curvy in Markell's Closet4:17 PM
I am so honored to be writing this post right now. You all know I love to support indie designers, but when they're in my own back yard, it's even MORE of a reason. I need you to think back to spring/early summer during prom season. A young lady wore a beautifully made African print gown to her to prom and it basically broke the Internet. After seeing it filter around Facebook and all that is Social Media, I learned that the dress was made by Markell Mockabee . She is a very talent designer & seamstress located here in Jersey. What's even crazier is that she was born and raised, and is now based in my hometown of Montclair, NJ. I also went to school with 3 of her kids since about the 4th grade. So when I got the chance to shoot one of her dresses, I couldn't say yes fast enough.
Mockabee is a self taught designer who has been working on & grooming her talent sense the tender age of 9. She received her 1st sewing machine around the age of 10 after learning how to sew with a needle & thread. Excited to finally have her own sewing machine, she would create pieces from the left over fabric her mother would give her. From that point on, she used every excuse she could to create new garment; whether it be her 8th grade dinner dance, looks for Essex County College fashion show, a prom dress that went viral or even a BET Awards red carpet gown (that happen to be chosen as best dressed).
|Original Design from Kyemah McEntyre| Naturi Naughton at the 2015 BET Awards| Yours Truly|
Mockabee is one who enjoys a challenge working with a plethora of textiles & prints and challenging herself to create pieces for everyone; Men, Women, and children regardless of body size. She creates her pieces with laser like precision even without the use of base patterns. She has an eye for draping & contouring the female body, being able to capture the essence of femininity like that of Diane VonFurstenburg or Coco Chanel. All the while never losing who she is as a designer"
|Printed full length skirt w/ strapless top|
Her growth and journey is not without struggle, but certainly holds life lessons that we all could learn from. She was a mother of 3 by time she graduate high school, but she met the demand of the motherhood head on. She used her talents to support her kids and persevered. After a short stay in North Carolina with her sister & 3 growing children where she met her husband, they moved back to Montclair & gave birth to her 4th child. She did her best to provide as a wife & a mother of 4. She later took a job with the Montclair Board of Education after her husband decided to leave with her youngest child. Her designing was sort of put on the back burner as the safety & protection of her children was her number one priority. Fast forward 20 years all her children are college graduates and thriving productive adults. She has once again decide to throw all of her energy into designing & creating amazing fashion.
Sweetheart Elastic halter w/ perforated faux leather skirt
Men's Cotton & Denim Crew Neck
With her kids doing their own thing, she went back to what was always her love. Her fashion. She continued to create custom pieces for her clientele for various occasions. She even found the courage to tryout for Project Runway. She tried out 3 times and unfortunately was met with rejection (#sideeye to you Project Runway), but she did not let that hold her back. She kept on designing, creating & mentoring.
|Sleeveless Shirtdress w/ red underlay bodice.|
Enter Kyemah McEntyre! She is a budding young designer and a mentee of Mockabee's. When time came to create her prom dress she reached out to Mockabee. The pair sat down together to figured out how to bring her drawing to life. They collaborated on how to make the drawing a wearable design, hence the now famous gown. I remember seeing the gown online and was completely here for all of it. I always love seeing young ladies take and elegant approach to prom and that dress was every bit of perfection. The popularity of the gown caught the attention of Naturi Naughton star of 'Power' and former 3LW group member. She reached out to Kyemah who turned to Mockabee & the 2 created magic yet again. After 18 hours of sewing & 2 fittings Nautri turned heads on the red carpet of the 2015 BET Awards.
|African Print Collection|
Mockabee is a success not just in creating amazing fashion, but also as a mother, a mentor and business women. Having raised 4 children who are all thriving in their adulthood and mentoring budding designers, Mockabee is all about giving of her time & talent to young women. A trait attributed to bother her mother & grandmother. She is a prime example that standing strong on your faith and working hard, anything can & will happen. She is totally coming into her own at this point in her life and her work speaks for itself.
Her online shop is on open for business and offers a plethora of amazing fashion for all sizes & genders. She also is taking custom orders. Who knows, you can be her next viral design! Be sure to check out her website and follower her on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter.