McKee Performance Wear was always a dream, a goal written down a million times and an idea that we never imagined coming to life.
As a young girl, Courtney grew up living next door to her grandparents (every child’s dream). Her grandma, gram, was an avid sewer, seamstress and a wizard of quilting. She had an entire floor of her home filled with sewing machines, quilting machines, piles of fabrics and walls full of color coordinated thread. Every day, Courtney would catch the school bus from her gram's house and would come straight back after school ended, before gymnastics practice.
The time she spent at her grandparents’ house was spent ironing fabric and playing “Joann’s.” For those of you who don’t know, Joann Fabrics is a store Courtney and her gram visited weekly. There, they would pick out new fabrics for fun projects and Courtney would stand there in awe of how precisely they would cut the fabric and fold it so neatly before handing it over to be purchased. At home, Court would iron the fabric, eliminating every crease and line and then strategically fold the fabric in the same way as the Joann’s employees.
Both Rhonda and her daughter Courtney, learned how to sew from her mom and Courtney's grandmother, Patti Mackie. As Courtney grew up, she would sketch little designs and spend weekends with her grandma coming up with the patterns and sewing them together. As the years passed, and it was time for Courtney to head to college, she made the decision to continue her studies at Saint Mary’s College of California, despite wanting to be in the fashion world.
After her first semester of undergrad, she enrolled in summer school at Parsons the New School of Design in New York City. She spent the summer in different sewing rooms (factories), gallivanting across the city purchasing fabric for projects and connecting with her dream mentor, Joan Duncan, fashion merchandiser extraordinaire and Parsons professor.
After her summer in the city, she headed back to the Bay Area and landed her dream job in the athleisure market. After two years of being immersed in the athleisure world, she moved back to NYC for a great opportunity with a different brand while transferring to a new location to continue her athleisure job. This was the summer that determined what she was meant to do — to be in fashion.
Every day, she would walk back from the subway to her apartment talking to her gram about what crazy event she got to be a part of that night, how her photo was used in Domino Magazine and how every single day was basically a dream — straight out of the Devil Wears Prada.
As Courtney finished her senior year of undergrad, she was invited to Savannah College of Art and Design for an in-person interview for a master’s program with the potential of early admissions. This was her long-term goal and soon became a reality. As soon as her time in undergrad ended, she would be off to Savannah, Georgia to receive her masters in Luxury and Fashion Management.
Before she headed across the country to continue to pursue her dreams, her gram passed away. She was her rock, her world and her biggest fan.
Fast forward to 2020, Courtney had already graduated a year early with her Masters in Luxury and Fashion Management, gotten married, and worked a little over five years in the athleisure world. She had moved four times in the last year #armywifelife and needless to say, she was ready to make her dreams a reality.
Her husband was deployed overseas at the beginning of the year, and Courtney decided to live with her family in San Diego during the duration of his deployment.