Clothing, Con Life

The Future of Geek Fashion: Chicago Comic Con

“Fashions fade. Style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent

While tabling for Hero Within at Chicago Comic Con, I was fortunate enough to be placed on a geek fashion panel “The Future of Geek Fashion” with Tony Kim, founder and creator of Hero Within clothing and Britnee Braun, creator and designer of Skirtybirt.

Tony gave a contextual introduction to geek fashion and why the general public would even want to sport a Captain America shirt in the first place. The breech of nerd culture into pop culture has everyone somewhat admitting they’re into hero types. Just take Star Wars for example. When The Force Awakens released, everyone from past generations had a story to share about their fandom.

But the future of geek fashion still has many stones left unturned especially for men. While Britnee was handling all of the questions quite well for the female audience and how there was a need for subtlety in the women’s world, the guy’s side has a meteoric-sized crater that only the Justice League can stop. Tony and I acted as JLA’s ambassadors.

Two questions stuck out to me most during the panel. One was asked by Tony who always covers the most ground a facilitator can cover in a panel, and the other from a guy in the audience. Yes, there were guys in a geek fashion panel, which totally had me stoked.

  • (Audience) What is the latest thing going on right now in fashion?: I had to clarify whether he was talking geek fashion, cosplay, or general fashion. But “bounding” or “everyday cosplay” pretty much covers everything. It’s clean, simple, and fashionable for almost any occasion. Color-blocking the color-scheme of your favorite character without cosplaying theme is just as empowering, versatile and stylish. Want to dress as Snow White but don’t have a costume? Grab a navy blue top, some mustard pants, and some red accessories. Simple, clean, and fun. Fashion can always be clean, color-blocked with basics and layers.
  • (Tony) What would you like to see for the future of geek fashion?: I looked around the room and saw the ratio of women to men was about four to one. In many words, I tried to express that it doesn’t take large strides for guys to try something different new, but it does take risk with fashion. Fashion risks will be a bit uncomfortable, but you’ll be glad you did it, like trying to wear a hat or a bow tie. Overall, the goal was to get have more guys have an interest in geek fashion, have them in a room to be interested in fashion.

Both Tony and Britnee talked about their origin stories about how they got started with their enterprises. Tony going full time with HW and Britnee mentioned at the panel about how full-time in the geek world isn’t too far to reach.

The point: Risk and try.

A good risk though.

Geek fashion wouldn’t have evolved if people relied on graphic tees and hoodies. There were people out there who took a look at their closet and wanted more than screen prints on black shirts. This involved risk, risk in what they wore and also their time and creative efforts.

The good news is geek fashion is just starting to make headway, and I’m not even sure if it will ever catch the wave of high-fashion trends. The better news is that even if geek fashion stays in its own world, the possibility with style will continue to be endless by countless nerds who take risks inspired by a world of heroes fiction and non-.

What are your predictions for the future of geek fashion? What’s your personal style? Colorful? Monochrome? 

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Marlon @NerdCoolture