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When it’s time to choose a prom dress, many teenage girls flock to the local mall to purchase some dreadful, Cinderella-inspired taffeta number. But for 18-year-old Kyemah McEntyre from East Orange, New Jersey, that just wasn’t going to do the trick.
Last week, McEntyre took to Instagram to post a photo of herself in her breathtaking prom gown. While she designed the garment herself, the dress was handmade by her friend, the seamstress and fashion designer Markell of Markell’s Closet.
In her post, the young artist explains that the dress’s vivid hues and vibrant patterns are a nod to her African heritage. She also describes the creative journey that led to her designing the gown:
In a subsequent post on Twitter, she wrote: “This is for always being labeled as, “ugly” or “angry”. Thank God, stereotypes are just opinions.—Kyemah McEntyre”
To top it all off, she was named Prom Queen.
McEntyre also wrote on Instagram that she’d be walking in the gown at a charity function for the Walk with Me, Lord Foundation, a non-profit that raises awareness of life-threatening conditions by partnering with runway models and fashion designers. The future Parsons School of Design student will also be showcasing some original art at the event.
Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.