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Her Universe Fashion Show: What's it like to attend a geek couture fashion show

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Posted at 12:37 PM, Jul 23, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The annual Her Universe Fashion Show returned to San Diego Comic-Con Thursday with over 2,000 attendees celebrating geek couture.

This year's event was held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel inside the Harbor Ballroom and celebrated 100 years of Disney, presented by Her Universe and Hot Topic.

The show was co-hosted by Her Universe founder and actor Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars franchise) and Michael James Scott (The Genie in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway).

As a first-time attendee at the annual geek couture event, I didn't know what to expect. I had seen glimpses of fashion shows in TV shows, movies, and, of course, those held in Paris and New York, but I never actually attended one in real life.

I arrived and took my seat, and waited for the event to start.

The show kicked off with Scott serenading the audience with "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" from Cinderella before Eckstein joined him on stage to officially kick off the fashion show.

Eckstein wore a one-of-a-kind dress designed by Andrew MacLaine that infused technology and fashion in a way that had never been done before. Teaming up with Walt Disney Imagineer Daniel Joseph, who brought his unique set of skills and ideas to bring this creation to life. The design featured flexible OLED screens, which wrapped around Eckstein like a film strip, and it played video content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars.

Disney Producer & Director John Gleim (Adventure Thru the Walt Disney Archives on Disney+) curated the videos.

Scott wore two couture looks designed and made by Andrew MacLaine (Genie and Darth Vader) and one by Kristi Siedow-Thompson (Thanos, one of Marvel’s most powerful villains).

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THE COMPETITION
The fashion show featured 25 designers from across the country with designs inspired by Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, National Geographic and more. Two winners were selected from an audience vote and a judging panel, which included 2022 Her Universe Fashion Show winning designers Cindy Guillermo and Michael Burson, SVP Hot Topic Merchandising, Robin Motts, Director of Concept Art and Story Development at Disney Consumer Products, George McClements as well as actor, artist and owner of Bungalow Modern, Bret Iwan.

Think Project Runway meets geek — and makes it couture.

Before the competition kicked off, audience members were given a look at the new fashion line by Her Universe available at Comic-Con.

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The evening continued with introduction videos from each designer explaining their vision for their design before it hit the runway, separated into five groups.

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Ink & Paint by Megg Waddington
Her Universe Fashion Show
Storybook Ending by Leah M. Foley
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"Long Live the Queen" by Siberia the Queen
design inspired by Storm
Mistress of Elements by Raeven K.

RELATED: PHOTOS: Her Universe Fashion Show 2023

As each design made its way down the runway, either worn by a model or the designer themselves, it was truly amazing to see where they drew their inspiration and how the end product turned out.

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Raeven K. and Rachel Petterson

But despite how many breathtaking designs were shown, only two designers could win. This year's judges winner was Rachel Petterson, with her Totally Minnie look inspired by Minnie Mouse. The audience winner was Raeven K. for her Mistress of the Elements look inspired by X-Men’s Storm.

Each will be creating two collections for Her Universe: one with Her Universe and Hot Topic and one collection with Her Universe envisioned for Disney Parks. So, if you're heading to Disneyland any time in the future, make sure to keep an eye out for these incredible designs.

Aside from the fashion, what I found interesting is how the show went to great lengths to make sure they were in compliance with the SAG-AFTRA strike to ensure that the show could go on.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The show is a love letter to fans who are interested in geek couture, with a mix of cosplay and fashion. It's a chance for amateur designers to showcase their skills and build their reputations and following. It's incredible to see how two worlds come together to create beautiful fashion and kick it up another notch. It's an incredible show that every Comic-Con attendee with an interest in fashion should definitely see at least once.