Former Delta student lives childhood dream by creating clothing, lifestyle for locals


Kelsea Macnamara, a 22 year-old former Delta student, greets shoppers with a warm, inviting smile as she explains her business at the re- cent Stockmarket event in downtown Stockton.
Wrapping up purchases and writing down custom orders, she does it all with a smile on her face and passion in her eyes.
“I don’t want to stop; I want to take this to the fullest extent because I’m passionate about making, I’m passionate about people, I’m passionate about like curating a lifestyle for people,” said Macnamara.
Born in Arizona, but raised in Stockton and Lodi, Macnamara is living her childhood dream – making unique and stylish clothing.
Before her career as a designer, Macnamara once worked for an elementary school, but then decided to make the leap across the country and move to New York City to be a part of the fashion industry.
After a couple of months, she moved back home to Stockton where she worked for a boutique in Lincoln Center for the next two years.
From there she decided that it was time to make a name for herself. So she started her business, The Darling Collective.
From a young age, Macnamara knew she wanted to be a fashion designer. She always talked about it.
She said she was bullied in school because of her creative way of thinking, but her father’s encouraging words kept her going.
“My dad would always say ‘Hey, don’t worry about it. Those kids will be wearing your designs one day’,” said Macnamara.
Macnamara makes button-up shirts, ponchos, kimonos and anything else you can think of. Every piece is handmade.
“A button-up it takes like a good seven to eight hours,” said Macnamara.
When Macnamara isn’t creating stylish fashion pieces, she’s working at Empresso Coffee Shop on the Miracle Mile.
If she isn’t brewing coffee, you can
usually find her traveling.
“If I’m really feeling like strapped,
like ‘alright I just wanna go out’, I just kind of sail ya know,” said Macnamara.
Macnamara attended Delta for four years. She originally wanted to be a psychology major, but instead ended up switching to art.
“It’s something I wanted to do, not society telling me what I should get [a degree] in,” said Macnamara. “And it was really kinda liberating for me to be able to get a degree in something I’m really passionate about.”
For the time being, most of her business is done through social me- dia or markets like the Stockmarket, a pop-up marketplace located on Weber Avenue.
Buyers can order custom made clothing pieces or can buy directly from Mcnamara’s Instagram (shopthedarlingcollective) when she posts something new.
Macnamara is currently building an online site where she can sell not only her clothes and accessories, but other handmade pieces from other artists as well.