As Donna Kelce sported a black-and-red denim jacket and light-up high-top shoes during an interview before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Monica Blakely cried at her Maryland home.
To Blakely’s surprise, Kelce responded within minutes. Four days later, Blakely sent a jacket and shoes containing an even mix of Chiefs and Eagles colors to Kelce, who flaunted the outfit all week in Glendale, Ariz., and on State Farm Stadium’s field.
“To see my stuff on these networks, it’s overwhelming. It’s amazing. It’s incredible,” Blakely, 36, told The Washington Post. “I can’t find the words to truly describe the feeling because there’s just so many feelings mixed together.”
After having her daughter, Ezra, in January 2013, Blakely was looking for work with a flexible schedule. As a child, Blakely had loved arts and crafts projects, so she started a clothing and home decor business in December 2013 called Passion for Ezra.
Blakely quickly incorporated her lifelong passion for the National Football League into her designs. From those early days, then in the basement of her parents’ Olney, Md., home, Blakely designed wreaths featuring NFL teams’ colors and logos. Blakely, a Washington Commanders fan, arranged her schedule around NFL games and its draft. Over the next nine-plus years, her business grew by word-of-mouth recommendations, and Blakely opened offices in Olney and Columbia, Md.
After watching the Chiefs and Eagles qualify for the Super Bowl on Jan. 29, Blakely read about Kelce’s experience raising her NFL-bound sons. Blakely, who said she’d do anything to help Ezra achieve her goal of becoming an actress, related to Kelce’s affection for her children.
“She’s the ultimate mom goal,” Blakely said. “She’s doing everything a mom who absolutely loves her kids would do. When I saw that passion behind it and that dedication to her kids, I was like, ‘I got to make this for her.’”
From her Columbia home on Jan. 31, Blakely said she messaged Kelce on five social media platforms with an offer: “I’d love to make you something. I think I have an idea of what would be perfect.”
Blakely didn’t expect a response, but when Kelce agreed minutes later, Blakely went to work. She wanted the jacket to be symmetrical to reflect Kelce’s equal love for her sons. She cut one red and one black denim jacket in half and sewed them together.
She sketched and painted logos for both teams and the sons’ numbers — 62 for Jason and 87 for Travis. On the back of the jacket, Blakely sewed the letters “KELCE” across the top, with the colors split in the middle of the “L.” The “EAGLES” and “CHIEFS” names on the sleeves face each other to represent the teams’ Super Bowl showdown.
Blakely also made two pairs of shoes for Kelce, who wore the high-top sneakers on Sunday. The left shoe is gray and black, and features an Eagles logo on the tongue and “62” on the toe box. The right shoe is red and gold, with a Chiefs logo on the tongue and “87” on the toe box.
Kelce told Blakely she didn’t like glitter, but Blakely found another way for the footwear to shine. She inserted lights into the outsoles that flash on each step. The left shoe displays green lights; the right showcases red lights. All told, Blakely said she worked on the outfit for about 30 hours.
Blakely said she sent the items to Kelce’s agent on Feb. 4. She worried Kelce wouldn’t like or wear them, but within a day, Kelce received the package and expressed her appreciation, Blakely said. Kelce showcased the jacket on ESPN on Tuesday and discussed it in interviews last week with GQ and Today.
A photo of Kelce wearing the attire before Sunday’s game went viral on Twitter, and she donned it while giving on-field interviews before the game. Blakely was so grateful to Kelce that she and her husband, Taylor, matched their Super Bowl alliances with Kelce’s. Blakely supported the Chiefs; Taylor rooted for the Eagles.
Over the years, Blakely has felt fulfilled by her customers’ reactions to their new clothes and by opportunities to donate masks at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. But Kelce’s outfit gathering international attention gave Blakely even more validation. Blakely hopes the publicity will lead to more opportunities to design clothes for NFL players and their families, which she said is her dream job.
“It’s 10 years of hard work,” Blakely said. “… I started in my parents’ basement, and now I have stuff in the Super Bowl.”