Earlier this month at New York Comic-Con (NYCC), a booth far off to one side of the show floor was flooded with eager, mostly female, shoppers. Fighting through the throngs of determined buyers and lookers, perhaps succumbing to the mania of the mob myself, I finally discovered what everyone couldn’t get enough of: a jewelry company called Girls Crew

The tiny baubles on the table were beautifully dainty and feminine, each with an almost artisanal finish. But why the mob? Upon closer inspection, many of the pieces were from collaborations Girls Crew has launched with some of the biggest names in fandom. Its Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney Princess collections were the apple of many a NYCC eye.

The Mulan stud set. | Source: Girls Crew

The designs are somewhat of a revelation within the fandom jewelry realm, as pop culture characters and icons are evoked in Girls Crew’s jewelry, never merely reproduced.

“Today, Girls Crew is creating designs that push boundaries and break trends by providing our customers with the most playful, dainty, and imaginative jewelry,” Girls Crew Founder Jina Chang told The Pop Insider via email. “Girls Crew stands out because we are able to create the designs on the tiniest pallet without losing any of the details!” 

That’s where it starts, the details. The company’s WandaVision jewelry, which was on display at NYCC, is just one example. The Scarlet Witch’s headpiece was rendered in fine lines as a ring, and centered by a pinkish, ruby-colored stone. Wanda is there, on your finger, but with an abstraction that means the piece, out of context, is simply a beautiful ring.

The company didn’t begin with fandom jewelry, however. Rather, the design vision came first, and the collabs followed. The first licensed collection that Girls Crew launched was for Star Wars, a franchise with special meaning for Chang.

Lightsaber studs. | Source: Girls Crew

“Growing up, my dad was a huge fan of the original trilogy, and we used to watch the movies together,” she says. “As I got older, I became more of a casual fan but fell back in love with Star Wars through The Mandalorian series and couldn’t get enough of Mando and Grogu. With my renewed love for Star Wars, I utilized every contact I had to connect with the LucasFilm team.”

However, Chang says this first foray into fandom didn’t come without its hesitations. “To be honest, I was worried about how this collection would be received by our customers, as I wasn’t sure how many people shared my love for Star Wars,” Chang says. “All the worries disappeared minutes after launch, as this collection exceeded all expectations and sold out instantly!” 

Thus, the throngs at NYCC. 

The Star Wars collection — which has since expanded — features subtle twists on lightsabers, delicate Grogu stud earrings, a striking red Return of the Jedi stud set, Jedi Order and Death Star rings, and much, much more. “Our specialty is creating pieces that you can have fun with while mixing and matching different pieces and pairing them together,” Chang explains. This seems especially true of the various studs and stud sets across multiple Girls Crew collections. 

Girls Crew’s Disney collection, for example, offers a series of stud sets inspired by each of the Disney Princesses, from Snow White to Moana. There are also stud sets that pay homage to the classic Disney core of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, reimagined in dozens of inventive designs.

The Disney Princess collection, Chang says, was the most challenging because of the sheer quantity of pieces it demanded. But when it comes to designing collaborations, the story is the anchor. “When tackling a new licensed collection, we take into account the storytelling and characters,” she says. “Then we go to the drawing board and create multiple concepts for each character, going through countless revisions of the concepts, color options, stone options, and physical samples.”

Girls Crew has managed to keep its foundation of original design in place, as well, offering collections varying in theme, like “GC food” (featuring a brunch set, croissant studs, a fruit basket necklace, and gemstone mushroom earrings), and “In the Garden,” which is all butterflies and florals.

The “Lunch Is On Us” set. | Source: Girls Crew

The balancing act between playful original designs and faithfully translating existing characters to jewelry may, at first glance, seem like a tall order. But Chang says it comes relatively easily. “Striking a balance between our original designs and collaborative collections is not difficult, as our design principles for both are rooted in my desire to share my perspective on everyday things in a playful and imaginative way.”

The swarm of bijoux buyers who visited Girls Crew at its inaugural NYCC booth was a welcome mix of patrons for the company. “The team and I had the best time meeting some of our longtime customers and forming relationships with new ones,” Chang says. “We can’t wait to go back next year.”

Until then, Girls Crew has some exciting upcoming collaborations in the pipeline for next year. But don’t expect anything that’s too slap-you-in-the-face fandom. “When people see our pieces IRL, they know it’s a Girls Crew piece,” Chang says. “It’s the IYKYK type of jewelry.”

About the author

Madison Patterson

Madison Patterson

Madison Patterson is an editorial assistant at the Pop Insider, the Toy Insider, and the Toy Book. When she isn't writing, the Seattle native can be found reading the classics, watching football, and scouring the city for New York's best vintage.