Arts Desk

Vintage Clothing and Cosplay Collide at Geek Chic Fashion Show

geek chicThe Geek Chic Fashion Show, a joint effort from Fantom Comics manager Esther Kim and Holli Mintzer of Polly Sue’s Vintage Shop, could change the way you think of Disney princesses and Harry Potter wizards.

“The concept for this show is taking different time periods of vintage fashion and pairing them up with different pieces of geeky media,” says Mintzer, 28. She and Kim, 27, got the idea to put on a show after discovering a mutual love of fashion and vintage clothing.

The show will run the geeky gamut, featuring models dressed in punk Star Trek costumes, '50s-inspired Adventure Time garb, Disney flapper-wear, and riot grrrl Harry Potter ensembles. “It’s alternate history versions of iconic characters,” says Mintzer.

Though the show’s emphasis is on cosplay, not street styles, Kim says there’s still an intersection between the two. In fact, some of the fashion show’s outfits fall into the category of “stealth cosplay,” which Kim explains like this: “You want to pretend like you’re Iron Man for the day, but you can’t wear an Iron Man suit to work. So you create an outfit out of your normal work wardrobe to kind of emulate Iron Man.” For instance, instead of wearing a red suit of power armor and rocket boots, you might rock a bold red tunic and knee-high boots. “You know you’re being Iron Man for the day, but you’re totally work-appropriate,” says Kim. (If your office's interpretation of business casual allows for tunics and red boots, that is.)

Just 10 years ago, it may have been hard to convince anyone that geeks and fashion go together. But nowadays, with the intimate convergence of nerd and pop cultures, it might just be time to reevaluate that thought. In March, San Diego’s Comic-Con hosted what it called the “first ever” geeky fashion show, replete with practical interpretations of Star Trek uniforms and Doctor Who character garb.

And the D.C. geek community isn’t far behind the national trends. “There’s a really great cosplay community in D.C., and you can really see it growing at all the different conventions,” says Kim. “If there’s one city that’s like, total geek, D.C. has got to be it.”

The show begins on June 21 at 7 p.m. at Saint Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church, 1525 Newton Street NW. Tickets cost $5, and a portion of the proceeds goes toward Con or Bust, an organization that helps fans of color attend sci-fi conventions.

Illustration by Kevin Wada.

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