Makaylee Gayed |Fashion Designer

Designing for “powerful women | You know those women who don’t let anything stop them…

Makaylee Gayed

Day to Night Wear | … designing for “powerful women“.

Nebraska | Fashion Designer always open to new opportunities in promoting her designs.

Makaylee Gayed | an emerging fashion designer that finds passion in creating and designing for the powerful woman that does not let anything stand in the way of her dreams. Kaylee is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Textile, Merchandising, and Fashion Design program. On her journey as a fashion designer, she has participated in the Spring 2021 Omaha Fashion Week as well as Fall 2021 Kansas City Fashion Week. Her story shines a light on her desire and passion for designing. Open friendly and passionate about her journey and her work, she gives valuable insight into her journey as an emerging designer and the future she seeks. Makaylee Gayad, a strong woman in her own right that has not let anything stand in her way to achieving her dream of becoming a fashion designer. | Y | Makaylee Gayed Designs

What were you doing when you decided to become a fashion designer?

Makaylee: I grew up learning how to sew from my grandma. We would sew quilt blocks and simple patterns and submit them via my local 4-H group, so I have always loved to sew. When I started college, I was going into International Business and working part-time and at a clothing store. I realized I was always looking at the clothes we sold and thinking about how I could make them or change them. So, when I found out my college had a Fashion Design program, I changed my major right away.

How long have you been a practicing designer and what’s the hardest part about being a business owner and a fashion designer?

Makaylee: I graduated from design school in 2017 but I showed my first collection at Omaha Fashion Week in 2016. So, it’s been about five years now. I would say the hardest thing is getting my name out there. I live in Nebraska so there aren’t as many opportunities, so you really have to take advantage of the fashion week they have or the holiday pop-ups.

Participation Benefit | Phoenix Fashion Week, Digital Designer Bootcamp

What do you remember most about your first collection, being proud, or that you completed the project?

Makaylee: I was really proud of my first collection as it was inspired by my grandma teaching me how to sew. So, everything had quilt detailing, and it came together so well. That collection probably had the most detail that I have ever put into any design, and it still might be my favorite collection yet. However, it did put some things into perspective because I didn’t do any accessories or styling so that really missed the mark!

What was the response of the audience to your first design collection?

Makaylee: I got so many compliments on the collection. I designed a winter coat that had patchwork sleeves, and everyone loved it. And then around the same time the next year, I think it was Calvin Klein who came out with a patchwork coat, and everyone having seen my design still remembered mine and told me how it reminded them of my jacket and that mine should have been the one going viral.

What fashion style would you classify your work, designs?

Makaylee: I try to classify it as day to nightwear. I want to design for “powerful women, you know those women who don’t let anything stop them from chasing their dreams. They are always busy, so the designs are easy to accessorize and change up the style. They can wear it to the office, dress it up for a night out with the girls, or even to the PTA meeting.

Name one fashion show or event that you participated in and how would you describe the experience?

Makaylee: I think one of my favorite experiences was participating in the Phoenix Fashion Week’s Digital Designer Bootcamp.It really helps you with the back end of the business, so how to strategize your social medias, create order forms, how to reach out to wholesalers, etc. In the end, I grew my IG | Instagram from 312 to 2000 with their help and it’s definitely pushed me to be more consistent. I ended up “winning” the bootcamp and was titled Outstanding Bootcamper.

Is there a certain time of day or place that you find that you are most creative when designing?

Makaylee: Unfortunately, I always come up with my best ideas right before I fall asleep. I will just be laying in bed, and something will pop into my head, but I know if I get out of bed, I will never fall asleep. So, I usually hope that I can wait until the morning and still remember, but more often than not it doesn’t happen.

I Really like to play with Basic Colors | Y

Have you noticed a theme that often appears in your designs? If so, what?

Makaylee: I don’t like using patterns, so I really like to play with basic colors and create my own technique or textile. So, I have incorporated things like quilt blocking, weaving, etc.

What one design project do you recall was the most fun? What was the garment that you created?

Makaylee: I don’t know that it was the most fun because it took SO long, but when I was in design school, we had to create a wearable art piece that lit up. So, I made this shoulder piece that was made out of aluminum. I poked tiny holes all over it, cut a bunch of clear fishing string, and strung it through to look like fringe. Then underneath the aluminum piece, I fastened the lights. So, it had a soft flow underneath but also helped the fishing string light up a bit too.

Describe a time when you forgot a garment, misplaced, or tore a garment before the fashion show. How did you meet the challenge?

Makaylee: I got to a fashion show once that was about four hours away from where I live. When I got there and models started arriving, I realized that I had completely forgotten to alter the pants. I was supposed to take in the waist about 4 or 5 inches, so it wasn’t a small amount. Thankfully, I had some extra pieces of fabric in my sewing bin that matched the pants. I cut thin strips and tied it around like a belt, and it actually ended up being super cute.

What one thing would you like to see changed within the fashion industry?

Makaylee: Fast Fashion. I think people need to get away from these cheap stores where you wear the items a few times and then throw them away. There is just so much waste generated in the industry.

Are your designs created with the environment and sustainability in mind? If so, how do you implement this into your work?

Makaylee: I try to save my scraps so that I can use them in other designs or create my own textile from them. I also make everything for the customer order at the moment. So, it’s just me in my studio. I’m not using large factories or manufacturers. I also like to promote the fact this isn’t fast fashion. So, I am taking the time and using more expensive fabrics to ensure that you can get longer wear out of the garments.

With Covid-19 still in all our lives and causing challenges, how do you keep your focus on designing? Any special practices?

Makaylee: I’m still a pretty small and local brand, so I don’t feel like Covid-19 affected me that much. If anything, it gave me more time at home to focus on making content for social media pages or sketching new designs. | Makaylee Gayed Designs

What is your long-term goal as a fashion designer and where do you see yourself in a few years?

Makaylee: My long-term goal would be to have a team of seamstresses that would do the sewing for me. That would really allow me to focus on the design part of things and creating more collections as I would like to.

When you’re up against a deadline to complete a design project, what do you do to calm down and stay focused?

Makaylee: I am always up against a deadline, so it doesn’t really bother me much. I am not going to lie, I am a huge procrastinator, but I am really good at it. I always still get everything done.

As a fashion designer, what one tool or thing would you not want to be without during a fashion show?

Makaylee: I think the obvious answer here is needle and thread. However, I think the most fun thing I have recently started bringing is my ring light. While I am busy doing finishing touches, the models have a lot of fun with it. It helps get a lot of backstage content, and you could tell that our area was having the most fun taking silly photos and videos.

Where did you receive your design training and would you recommend the program?

Makaylee: I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. If you are located in the Midwest or Nebraska, it’s great, but if I had to change to go to a larger school, I definitely would have done that.

Fashion Designer

Makaylee Gayed |

Nebraska | Fashion Designer

Work and take advantage of every opportunity

Once you have completed a design project, what is that you hope to accomplish?

Makaylee: SALES!

If you were given the opportunity to open a design shop or boutique anywhere in the world, where you choose?

Makaylee: It would have to be LA or NYC. I think my designs would do a lot better in NYC than in LA, but I also really hate cold weather, so LA seems like the better option.

What do your family and friends think about your chosen profession as a fashion designer?

Makaylee: They try to be as supportive as they can, but where I live fashion isn’t a huge thing for many.

In closing, what one thing would you like to share with an aspiring fashion designer regarding the business of fashion?

Makaylee: You must put in the work and take advantage of every opportunity that you can. Get all of the social media pages you can, because you never know which avenue your customers are going to come from. You also need to tell your story and show your face for the business, people want to see who is behind the brand. You’re also going to get a lot of flak from people, but you can’t let it bother you. Fashion is a tough industry and not everyone is going to love you and your brand but that’s okay. If they don’t like it or constantly say they can’t afford it, then that isn’t your target customer, but you will find them eventually. | Makaylee Gayed Designs

Interview by | Elaine Pizzini

Omaha Nebraska Skyline

Makaylee Gayed | Fashion Designer