It’s been a few weeks since the Her Universe Fashion Show finalists were announced. Every year, more and more designers apply, so it gets harder to make it into the show. I don’t envy the jobs of the initial judges at Her Universe who must select only twenty-some finalists from several hundred designs!
In 2016, which would have been my second year in the competition, I didn’t make the cut. My 2015 experience was so energizing and inspiring, I found myself pretty devastated that I didn’t get in the following year. Looking back at my entries, I definitely played it safe in my designs, and see that my illustration needed work. However, not getting in definitely lit a fire in me for the following year, and after a year of fashion school I was so thrilled to be selected for 2017. I then assessed my look after the competition and tried to determine what separated me from the top looks in the next year (I worked on my construction and fit hardcore). This introspection, I believe, lead to my win in 2018. I can see how much growth I have had as a designer between 2015 and now, punctuated by my design submissions each year. We all have to start somewhere to get where we’re going, and growth is inevitable if not necessary.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the fashion show on this blog, so I wanted to take some time to recognize a few designers that didn’t get in this year. Watch out for them next year and following years! There are some truly bold and fun designs (and great illustrations) in this bunch. I hope those of you who didn’t get in this year keep trying next year, and consider making their entries anyway! The absolute best way to get better is by practicing. And the HUFS stage isn’t the only place to showcase your work! Get out there my nerds!
What better way to start than with Star Wars? I adore Vivian’s illustration style SO MUCH. Both of her looks are incredibly dynamic in her presentation. Next, we’ve got Jodi’s Rey gown with great detailing - I love the texture in this drawing. Also included here is one of Candice’s crochet yarn designs that she is working on to wear to the show. Check her out on social media to see her progress on building this design strand by strand.
Another popular entry this year was Spider-Gwen from the Spiderman franchise. I can see why; I recently watched Into the Spiderverse and I was enamored with it! In fact, stay tuned, because my judging look this year will likely be based on this movie. Brittany’s look includes this super interesting web skirt which I would LOVE to see made! Jennifer’s take has a very clever use of sunglasses as an accessory to denote the mask.
Animated movies were very popular this year! I received quite a few How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World submissions, which makes me want to go see it since it has inspired so many designs! Emily’s look gives me Toothless, while Brittany gives me Light Fury! And Candice (another yarn concept) does both.
Studio Ghibli is always a theme-rich set of animated movies to pull inspiration from. Brittany’s Haku design reminds me a lot of the the How to Train Your Dragon designs since it is inspired by another white dragon from Spirited Away. The swatch examples on this design really bring it to life for me; love the paneling for the capelet! Her Howl’s Moving Castle design is another edgy look with some interesting accessories. I also kinda need that gray mohawk in my life.
Disney movies are such a core part of many of our childhoods, it’s hard not to get ideas from them. I love Chatam’s poison apple look inspired by Snow White, and he is working on bringing a version of it to life which I’m so ready for. Jennifer created a Pegasus inspired design, which she is also constructing despite not being a finalist. I’ve seen that feather earpiece on Instagram! Chanelle’s Ursula in royalty look reminds me of my 1920s rejected version from 2016. Ursula is such an interesting character, and she absolutely lends herself to fancy couture designs. Emily used the whole Disney castle and fireworks show as her gown concept! I especially like the colorful firework halo crown on this design.
Speaking of animated inspirations, this year’s theme for the junior competition is Cartoon Network’s Stephen Universe. Kaylea M. put together two fashion looks, complete with shoes and accessories! I love her use of color, especially in the blue skirt. I would absolutely wear either of these looks any day, so keep up the good work Kaylea! I can’t wait to see how your fashion career progresses.
I can’t talk about Disney without mentioning Pixar. Here are a couple excellent submissions that encompass Monster’s Inc. and Up. Jodi’s layered door skirt is something I’d love to see in person! Christine’s Up look is an excellent design, I enjoy the halter top roof tiles.
The Batman universe has another wealth of characters with interesting looks and backgrounds that are ripe inspiration for the competition. Poison Ivy is one that has endless plant possibilities as seen in Pixiegift Fashion’s Isley look. Candice’s third entry is an art deco inspired suit (again, all crochet) based on Mask of the Phantasm.
Pixiegift Fashions jumped into the anime world with a Sailor Moon design as well as Digimon look. I especially like the use of the Digimon alphabet in the skirt becauses I’m partial to graphic lettering on a couture design.
Movies and television aren’t the only inspirations out there! Video games are sources of great imagination in the fashion realm. Brittany was inspired by Sora from Kingdom Hearts with this coat and bodysuit combo. I love the leg details and use of color on this look. Caroline did two variations of a Handsome Jack look from the Borderlands franchise. If you saw my look from last year, you know I like the color yellow as well as floor length jackets, so I’m living for it. Also, Caroline’s illustrations are always luscious with detail.
With the release of Avengers: Endgame this year, the Marvel universe is fresh on everyone’s mind right around the submission period. Brittany had a couple Marvel submissions including Captain Marvel and Loki. I love how she shows us many different angles of these looks. I’m also pretty partial to the Infinity Gauntlet after working on looks based on Thanos with Hot Topic, so I of course loved this mini dress by Christine.
Some fandoms are eternal, so it’s always a surprise if these popular sci-fi icons aren’t included. Farscape, Doctor Who, and Pirates of the Caribbean are such great series, and all the Emilys came out to represent! Emily Blake has both a Farscape look as well as a Doctor Who design with nice illustration and great callouts for explaining the look. Emily Gilmer’s Black Pearl inspired look is giving me Sheer Lace Realness, and I especially like the ship hat!
I saved my favorite category type for the end: SCARY STUFF! Each year my personal submissions have been related to the bad guys somehow; from the Empire from Star Wars in 2015, Harley Quinn and Ursula in 2016, The Upside Down from Stranger things in 2017, and finally, Aliens in 2018. It was never intentional, but I guess I like what I like! *shrug emoji*
Chatam’s American Psycho look is made from newspaper and clear vinyl, to emulate the raincoat worn by Christian Bale. I love the non-traditional material approach, as well as details like the snap buttons on the back of the dress. Angela gives us two Jurassic World inspired looks based on two different dinosaurs in the films, the Indorapter as well as Blue the velociraptor. These looks are very well thought through and the illustration is fantastic. The “hand” bag made me lol because COME ON.
Well there you have it! A great roundup of designs submitted to the Her Universe Fashion show. Everyone who submitted should be proud of their accomplishments in simply entering! Getting looks together on paper is a great way to define your skills as an artist. I hope my nerds out there get super inspired by these designs, and those of you who didn’t make it in this year, MAKE THEM ANYWAY! If you make your look, even if you aren’t showcased here, I’d love to see it and include it on a future post! Friend me on Instagram or Facebook, or shoot me a message at kristisiedowthompson@gmail!