Donovan Kelly

Keith –

Victim Location 48066

Total money lost $350

Type of a scam Other


Everyone who knows me knows I have been designing since I was a child and its been my dream and my goal to be a fashion designer. All I know is art. All I’m good at is art. This is what I do and I don’t take kindly to people taking advantage of others aspirations. Being from Detroit, being a young mother, its been hard as [censored] trying to accomplish this and not lose my mind.

On Friday I received this message on Instagram from Donovan Kelly @StyledByDonovan saying that he works for Complex and he wants to talk to me about doing a fashion show sponsored by Essence magazine, an editorial write up and a photoshoot. It sounded a little weird but I figured I would at least see what it was about.

He called me a few hours after the message and he sounded very professional. The show he pitched was very planned out. I asked him how did he come across my work and how is it that essence and complex would be working together. He says he also works for Factory PR (which is a legitimate PR company in new york) and his freelance work intermingles basically. I’m just a designer and I don’t really know how the Public Relations / magazine gig goes but obviously I’ve been trying to break into the fashion industry for awhile.

So I start doing my research on him. On his instagram he has pictures like him styling Tara Wallace from L&HH, working with Akademics on a clothing line (posted by their official instagram), other celebrities and big name brand sponsorships. But he hadn’t posted in about a year. I asked him about that and he says he’s just been focused on his work and he doesn’t post anymore.

He says there is a cost to participate and to lock in my spot. I tell him I have to talk with my husband and I’ll contact him by the end of day.

I sent a few messages out to people who he worked with to see if anyone could vouch for him, didn’t hear anything back.

Tried to call Factory PR who he claims to work for but by the time I was able to call them, their office had just closed.

So I asked Donovan to provide me with someone I could talk to to verify his offer. He directs me to speak with Rick Davy who is the owner and founder of Fashion Week Brooklyn (and this is verified). I read interviews on Rick, checked with the Fashion Week Brooklyn site to verify that he was who he says, looked up his Instagram and messaged him.

The screenshots of my conversation with Rick’s instagram are below. Rick says that he knows Donovan and that he is doing a show for Essence. I go all through Rick’s Instagram and it appears to be real. There’s genuine interaction between him and his followers and it seems to be a real page.

So once I talked to Rick I thought okay maybe this is worth a shot. I just want one good chance to show my work, my very best work in front of a crowd I can’t get in Detroit. And this seemed like that chance. Donovan had this list with all the media that would be there and it just seemed like a chance I couldn’t afford to miss.

So Josef and I talked about it for hours and ultimately decided well let’s call the bank and see what kind of protection we have in case its a scam. Our bank told us just to file a report with them if it was and they would do an investigation and send the money back to us in case we get scammed.

So we juat kind of said whatever happens happens we’ll take a risk.

I will say the good thing out of all this is that I’ve talked to so many amazing designers, photographers, stylists, and PR people that had this not happened I never would have met.

So basically we sent the money and Donovan was supposed to email the details of the shoot within an hour. I said if we didnt receive the email by morning we’d report it to the bank. Obviously that email never happened. He kept stalling, saying he was meetings, he’s working on it, finalizing the details (mind you he said he already had the details and the shoot is in a week) All day Saturday he’s texting saying he’s still working on it.

9 am Saturday we had already made a police report, contacted the bank as a precaution but would still try to wait to see if his offer would pan out. It didn’t.

I’ve now been contacted by 6 designers/stylists saying that they were also scammed by him on this and other projects.

One designer asked that I not name him and tell his story basically for fear of embarrassment and just let it go because doing this will give Donovan clout. I’m not embarrassed by how hard I go for my dream. By how much I believe in myself. Obviously this was stupid but I tried to do my due diligence and research and it still wasn’t enough.

As of this morning Donovan has texted saying he will return the money and he has blocked me on all his instagram accounts.

So this guy has been doing this to tons of people and no one has filed a police report, posted about him, nothing. So I feel like maybe this happened so someone could finally speak out and warn others about him and possibly get him arrested.

I’ve filed a police report, notified the NYC and posted a scam alert on with his phone number, aliases and photos. We’ll have our money back from the bank in a few days but my concern is for the many other people who do not have that option and have been scammed while trying to pursue their fashion designer dreams.

Donovan Kelly is in NYC and is also working with his sister Jessica Kelly to scam people under the guise of doing fashion related work.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top