Her Universe and Hot Topic combined fashion forces Thursday night to make the dreams of three lucky designers come true.
Out of a group of 25 finalists, three designers — two chosen by judges and one by fans in attendance — were picked to be winners of the fourth annual Her Universe Fashion Show during Comic-Con International.
“This is the year that dreams can come true,” Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein told the crowd of hundreds gathered in the Harbor Ballroom at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel before the show began. “The dreams that you wish can and do come true.”
Eckstein recounted how she grew up in Orlando, Fla. Her dad worked at Disney World and she was inspired by the Disney quote of “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
An emotional Eckstein said that bringing “geek couture” to Comic-Con has made her own dreams come true before announcing that she’s partnering with Disney to write a book that will be published in May 2018.
Keeping with the Disney theme, the winning designers will work in conjunction with Her Universe and Hot Topic to create a new fashion line based on Disney princesses.
Here’s a quickish look at the #HerUniverseFashionShow finalist & their designs.#HerUniverse winner will be announced soon. #SDCC #SDCC2017 pic.twitter.com/3QXVVX7Aap
— Sarah Batcha (@SarahBatcha) July 21, 2017
Judges’ winners included Rose Ivy of Claremont with her “Sorceress Supreme” design inspired by “Doctor Strange,” and Lindsay Meesak Orndorff of Orange County with her “Leader of the Pack” design inspired by “Princess Mononoke.” Grace Johnston of Chicago, Illinois with her “Don’t Panic” design inspired by “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” won the fans’ choice.
Other designs shown during the fashion show were inspired by “Stranger Things,” “Star Wars,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Moana” and more.
Both Ivy, who works at Cut Sew Stitch sewing studio, and Orndorff, who works as a visual effects artist on video games, got their start in cosplay before branching out into fashion.
“I’ve done everything from sewing simple tops to creating large gowns,” Orndorff said in the fashion show program. “I’ve also created armor, and wings and everything in between!”
Both have also competed in the Her Universe Fashion Show before. Orndorff during the first year and Ivy last year.
“Being a part of the show has been huge for me, because not only have I seen geek fashion rise to the forefront,” Orndorff said in the program, “but I’ve met some amazing designers along the way.”
Ivy said that she draws inspiration from her job while making different patterns for the mannequins to wear in window displays, according to the program.
“I wanted different silhouettes that were timeless and flattering to the various mannequin sizes we have on display,” Ivy said in the program, “because I believe fashion is for everyone regardless of body type or size.”
Last year’s fashion show winners — Hannah Lee-Kent, Jesse Thaxton and Camille Falciola — were on-hand as judges to help pick the the 2017 winners. The three helped create a Wonder Woman collection, which included some of the all-time, best-selling items in Hot Topics history, according to fellow judge Cindy Levitt, who is the senior vice president of merchandise and marketing at Hot Topic.
Levitt called the Wonder Woman collaboration a multi-million dollar collection as she talked about how serious the grand prize actually was.
“I’ve never found anything I love quite as much as sitting down in front of a sewing machine and making something extraordinary,” Johnston said in the program.