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SDCC 2017: Her Universe Fashion Show

by Emma Smith, Reporter,

On July 20, 2017, Her Universe sponsored a geek themed fashion show  at San Diego Comic-Con. Twenty-five amateur fashion designers contributed designs inspired by everything from Star Wars to Stranger Things. Two walked away with the judge’s prize and one with the audience prize, but all twenty-five designers can be proud of what they presented. 

The show began with a message from Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein. She walked the runway in a Cinderella inspired dress with integrated LED lights. Ashley spoke with great passion about her lifelong connection with Disney and her excitement at seeing the rise of geek themed fashion. The Her Universe Fashion Show has grown significantly in attendance since the first show in 2014. Excited fashion fans and cosplayers filled every seat in the ballroom. Before the contest entries went down the runway, Her Universe and Hot Topic showcased their current and upcoming collections with looks inspired by Star Wars, Marvel, Princess Monoke, and Wonder Woman.

The designs went down the runway in groups of five, accompanied by short video presentations in which the designers spoke about their inspiration and design process. After the main show and while the judges conferred and the audience votes were tallied, cosplayers of all ages were plucked from the audience and given the opportunity to walk the runway themselves. They ranged from a toddler BB8 to a cosplay that was entirely crocheted. 

The twenty-five competing designs were:

  1. The Haute of Te Fiti (Moana) – designed by Adria Renee
    • This design used tropical greens and flowers to create a nice tribute to traditional island dress.
  1. From Rags to Riches (Cinderella) – designed by Carone Liu
    • Cinderella’s mice dress about halfway though it’s deconstruction by her stepsisters.
  1. Enchanted Rose (Beauty and the Beast) – designed by Lynne Marie Martens
    • Lovely rose petal covered skirt but bodice looked askew
  1. Wayfinder (Moana) – designed by Sam Skylar
    • A formal version of Moana’s costume
  1. Ohana Means Fashion (Lilo & Stitch) – designed by Tanya Apuya
    • Hawaii meets Mini Mouse
  1. Tano Couture (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) – designed by Rachel Roth
    • Geometric red and black fishtail gown
  1. The Heart of Cyber (Rogue One) – designed by Britley Morgan Smith
    • “Cartoon come to life” feel
  1. Sorceress Supreme (Doctor Strange) – designed by Rose Ivy
    • A flowing dress and tailored coat combination – beautifully constructed with incredible detailed work on the coat
  1. I. Am. Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy) – designed by Judy Ann Grivich
    • Interesting use of ruffles to suggest leaves. Fun use of integrated LEDs.
  1. Dr. Strange’s Journey (Doctor Strange) – designed by Lauren Andrews
    • The designer used melting ice to create custom galaxy patterned fabric for this gown.
  1. As You Wish (The Princess Bride) – designed by Harmony Star Leiker
    • Red coat dress over little black dress.
  1. Leader of the Pack (Princess Monoke) – designed by Lindsay Meesak Orndorff
    • Voluminous white pantsuit with red faux fur trim.
  1. Justice Rains from Above! (Overwatch) – designed by Chatam Smith
    • Emo hippy jumpsuit – interesting draping on the light blue jumpsuit creates the world’s largest pockets
  1. This Was a Triumph (Portal) – designed by Kelsey Michelle
    • Portal’s well known orange and blue create the fishtail part of this otherwise geometric black and white gown.
  1. Style Never Dies (Overwatch) – designed by Candice Stephenson
    • Cool design but the final dress didn’t look finished.
  1. Pure Imagination (Willy Wonka) – designed by Ericka Angiuli
    • Godiva chocolate in lady form
  1. Into the Night (Vampire Hunder D) – designed by Elissa Alcala
    • Amazing patchwork lining on the floor length leather (pleather?) coat
  1. The Upside Down (Stranger Things) – designed by Kristi Siedow-Thompson
    • Top half – Venus emerging from the shell; bottom half – screaming man. Very fitting for its inspiration
  1. The Bathhouse (Spirited Away) – designed by Hailey Jensen
    • Very intricate, but looked more like a lamp than a dress
  1. Nephilim: Warrior Angel (Shadowhunters) – designed by Judith Armas Orellana
    • Cool use of light fabric for the skirt with a leatherwork bodice
  1. Annville’s Revival (Preacher) – designed by Sarah Hambly
    • The skirt was hand painted and held taut with wires – incredible amount of intricacy
  1. Princess of Wolves (Princess Monoke) – designed by Lydia Tachkov
    • Red sequin waterfall skirt but the “wolves” in the bodice weren’t really visible
  1. Here Comes the Rain (The Matrix) – designed by Athena Eagar
    • Looked like a costume straight out of the trilogy
  1. Diva Plavaguna (The Fifth Element) – designed by Rebecca Jordan
    • Blue latex with incredibly intricate bodice work
  1. Don’t Panic (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) – designed by Grace Johnston
    • Made entirely of towels, but you’d never guess! Fun interpretation of the source material.

In the end, the judges announced that they were unable to choose between two designs, so the judge’s prize was shared by Lindsay Meesak Orndorf and Rose Ivy. The audience vote went to Grace Johnston. The show ended with the announcement the three winners will collaborate on a Disney Princess themed collection for Her Universe and Hot Topic in the coming year. Hopefully, their talent will help them do something new and exciting with such a frequently explored subject. 

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