WEST PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WPVI) — The holiday search for the hottest fashion is on, but 9-year-old Ava Gardner (a 3rd grader at OMSSI Catholic School, IMS) doesn’t have any top brands on her wishlist. Instead, she’s shopping at her father’s sewing table.
“Anything daddy made me is my style,” she said.
Ava is the star of “Daddy Dressed Me,” a social media sensation created by her father, Michael Gardner.
“Sewing became a tool that I’ve used to teach her about self-confidence, loving herself and believing in herself,” said Michael.
His crafty hobby started about six years ago. But the passions that motivate him each day started much earlier.
“It was a struggle that I had in my childhood, not having my father raise me,” Michael said. “So, when I became a father, whatever I felt was a hardship, I put into making sure she doesn’t have that same experience that I did.”
With 17,000 followers on Instagram, Michael and Ava are sharing that contagious self-confidence around the world.
But Michael is also trying to inspire other fathers who came from similar backgrounds.
“For me, it’s just about actually showing up, being consistent, just trying my best,” he said. “Whatever may come her way, she’s fully confident knowing that I’m going to be there to support her.”
Ava dreams of attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and eventually becoming a fashion designer.
“Because I would like to be like daddy when I grow up,” she said.
To learn more about Daddy Dressed Me, visit their Instagram page.
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