Geek meets chic yet again at Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC), as 24 finalists take the stage for the sixth-annual Her Universe Fashion Show. According to Her Universe Founder Ashley Eckstein, fans will see some exciting new features this year. “We keep the spirit of the show the same, but it’s always different every year,” she says, explaining that the event adapts to best reflect current culture.

One new portion of this year’s show will highlight the winners of the first Cartoon Network Junior Design Contest, which was open to aspiring designers under the age of 18. Eckstein says they originally planned to crown only three winners for this competition, but ultimately chose an additional three honorable-mention winners. “Honestly, we just couldn’t choose,” Eckstein says. “There were so many designers who showed so much potential talent and promise. We had to feature them as well.”

For the first time, the competition also has a pre-established theme. The shows have a theme every year, but it typically emerges after the designers have submitted their work. This year, however, the designers were given the theme “The Power of Fashion” to work into their designs (for reasons that Eckstein says will become clear during fashion show). This theme, which originated from working with DreamWorks’ She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, encouraged the designers to take inspiration from anything they found powerful, such as a character, a property, or a film. “I’m always inspired by powerful characters in fashion,” Eckstein says. “I think of our designs like armor. So when you’re putting it on for the day, it’s like you’re armored to go on and take on the day.” Eckstein herself will wear a few different suits of armor throughout the premiere event: For the first time since 2015, she’ll wear three different dresses. She also reminds everyone attending to wear their own geek fashion, cosplay, or outfit they love because they will have a chance to walk the runway during the Cartoon Network intermission.

Before and after that intermission, fans will see fandom-inspired outfits from 24 finalists. This year’s judges include last year’s fashion show winners: Cynthia Kirkland, Jane Burson, and Kristi Siedow-Thompson. The finalists come from all across the country, some with years of design experience and some with none at all. Learn a little bit more about all 24 of them below, and check out this site on July 18 to see the winners and highlights from the event!

Adria Sanchez

Adria Sanchez-Chaidez (Adria Renee)

Instagram: @adria.renee

Design Title: Destination: Isla Nublar

Home State: California

Fun Fact: Sanchez-Chaidez is a self-taught designer, raised in “a household of strong and artistic women.”


Ally Crocker

Allyson (Ally) Crocker

Instagram: @lueah

Design Title: Bring Me Back to the Brienne-ing

Home State: California

Fun Fact: Crocker fell in love with fashion and costume design after watching The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition.


Andrea Ohnesorge

Andrea Ohnesorge

Instagram: @spectacular1771

Design Title: My Unicorn

Home State: Louisiana

Fun Fact: Ohnesorge has aspirations of starting a plus-size fashion label, specializing in suits and amazing prints.


Britley Morgan Smith

Britley Morgan Smith

Instagram: @HazelNewtBrett

Design Title: Moon Healing Escalation

Home State: California

Fun Fact: Outside of fashion, Smith also works in ceramics and has an illustrious career in spoiling her cat, Hermann.


Brianna Casper

Brianna Casper

Instagram: @Ghost_Banana

Design Title: Off With Her Head

Home State: Virginia

Fun Fact: Casper’s design aesthetic is partially inspired by the world of Japanese street fashion.


Christine Geiger

Christine Geiger

Instagram: @geigeruppercut

Design Title: A Horsey of a Different Color

Home State: California

Fun Fact: Outside of work, Geiger loves to cosplay and find any excuse to wear a costume. She is convinced she could pull together a look for any theme party in less than half an hour.


Cindy Heselton

Cindy Guillermo Heselton

Instagram: @sinnanoms

Design Title: The Night Queen

Home State: Virginia

Fun Fact: Guillermo Heselton is a technical designer for the streetwear brand Billionaire Boys Club, and she enjoys helping other independent designers develop their own lines.


Elizabeth Todd

Elizabeth (Liz) Todd

Instagram: @ambrose_cosplay

Design Title: Duck Couture (Wooo-ooo!)

Home State: Arizona

Fun Fact: Todd placed in Phoenix’s cosplay masquerade for the past three years, Wondercon’s masquerade for the past two years, and won “Best in Show” at SDCC’s masquerade last year.


Elizabeth Truong

Elizabeth (Lisa) Truong

Instagram: @a_siren

Design Title: The Spirit of Hope

Home State: California

Fun Fact: Truong learned to sew at a young age from her mother and was always making dresses for her dolls and herself.


Ericka Angiuli

Ericka Angiuli

Instagram: @Eangiuli

Design Title: Avenge the Fallen

Home State: California

Fun Fact: Angiuli works as a costume designer for Creative Costuming & Design, where she creates costumes for the marching arts and dance teams.


Hailey Jensen

Hailey Jensen

Design Title: Dreams Come True

Home State: California

Fun Fact: Jensen’s design is inspired by “that magical feeling you get when you walk down Main Street [at Disney] and see the castle for the first time.”


Heather Smith

Heather Smith

Instagram: @Geekanista5

Design Title: He’s No Good to Me Dead. Boba Fett — Star Wars

Home State: Texas

Fun Fact: Smith is a self-taught seamstress who “studied at the University of YouTube with a degree in figure-it-out and minor in seam-ripping.”


Jennifer Clark

Jennifer Clark

Instagram: @jenny.clark.1218

Design Title:Something Wicked

Home State: California

Fun Fact:Clark has designed several independent films, and she loves to take fantastical garments and make them wearable for every woman.


Jill Nofziger

Jillian (Jill N.) Nofziger

Instagram: @jillnndesign

Design Title:The Mistress of All Evil

Home State:California

Fun Fact: Nofziger works as a freelance designer and a costumer in the TV/film industry and resides with her husband, Welsh corgi, and black cat.


Kathryn Henzler

Kathyrn Henzler

Instagram: @fullmetal_flamingo

Design Title: The Lady of Lórien and Light

Home State: Ohio

Fun Fact: Henzler has used vegan fabrics for years, but her endeavor now is to switch to fabrics that are organic, fair-trade, and environmentally friendly whenever possible.


Kendra Raymond

Kendra Raymond

Instagram: @aml_designs

Design Title: Gotham City Socialite — Catwoman Origins

Home State: California

Fun Fact: Raymond is working on her second degree for TV/film costume design.


Kimberly Burns

Instagram: @Kberry723

Design Title: Heart of Kyber

Home State: Florida

Fun Fact: Burns turned her interest in fashion and costumes into a career, earning a degree in apparel design and becoming a fashion and costume designer.


Leigh Denning (Lizard Leigh)

Instagram: @HeyLizardLeigh

Design Title: A Diamond by Any Other Name

Home State: New York

Fun Fact: Denning is passionate about the intersection of cosplay, drag, and fashion. Leigh enjoys creating complex garments with detailed references and Easter eggs for fellow superfans.


Olivia Mears

Olivia Mears

Instagram: @avantgeek

Design Title: She-Ra, The Princess of Power Suits

Home State: North Carolina

Fun Fact: Mears’ work has been worn in commercials for Taco Bell, featured on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and represented at MTV’s VMAs.


Samantha Haag

Samantha Haag

Instagram: @acesthetic27

Design Title: IcyHot Vogue

Home State: Florida

Fun Fact: Haag doesn’t work in any fashion-related field, nor did she go to school for it. She entered the Her Universe competition for fun!


Samantha Strickland

Samantha Strickland

Instagram: @unoriginalsam85

Design Title: IT Girl

Home State: Florida

Fun Fact: Strickland has been sewing since she was in high school, when the drama teacher decided she was the costume director for the school play.


Sarah Hambly

Sarah Hambly

Instagram: @officialhambly

Design Title: BODAK Green

Home State: Nevada

Fun Fact: Hambly’s love of pop culture stemmed from her family’s small video store business, where she often found herself drawing pop culture-inspired work.


Sarah Timm

Sarah Timm

Instagram: @breathcue

Design Title: Welcome to Neptune

Home State: California

Fun Fact: Timm started altering and making her own clothes in high school with guidance from her mother.


Wes Jenkins

Wes Jenkins

Instagram: @artofwesjenkins

Design Title: Oogie Boogie’s Winter Ball — The Nightmare Before Christmas

Home State: Florida

Fun Fact: Jenkins and his wife, Jen, enjoy going to every Dapper Day at Disney World dressed in his creations.

The sixth-annual Her Universe fashion show is on Thursday, July 18 in the Manchester Grand Hyatt’s Harbor Ballroom. Line up starts at 1 p.m., doors open at 5:15 p.m., and the show starts at 6 p.m. Admission is free, but seating is limited.

Photos: Her Universe


This article was originally published in the Pop Insider’s Summer 2019 Issue No. 4, click here to read more!