Mara Jade is that one costume that I will never be satisfied with and that I will always be making a new version of or updating. When I found out that Timothy Zahn was going to be at Awesome Con again this year, it seemed only logical to upgrade. I’m fairly happy with how this turned out and HEY I got a cape!
Mara Jade: Bria
Photography by Rich and Strange Photography
After their awesome team up for Avengers work out gear, Her Universe has partnered with Kohl’s again in honor of the 75th Anniversary of Captain America. Just in time for 4th of July, it’s a super cute collection with a retro flair. While the Cap Shield is readily apparent in almost every look, it’s done with a bit of subtlety that more than a few fangirls will appreciate. I could easily see myself being able to wear the two shirts on the bottom row to work during the summer. As a note, apparently this collection is definitely sized for juniors and runs small so order up a size if you’re not sure.
You can check out the collection in both regular and plus sizes over at Kohl’s website and in select stores. Fair warning though: some items have already sold out!
If you’ve been reading WHR for a while, you’ve probably picked up on my tendency to make geek chic dresses when I get either bored or stressed out. The months leading up to Awesome Con 2016 were no exception and it just so happened that I had a panel towards the end of Saturday and… yep. This is definitely what I wore. Look, I’m not quiet about my newfound loyalty to the First Order.
There’s no real outfit break down to post since the dress was designed and made by me and I completely spaced and forgot to grab necklace and earrings in the morning. One of the best compliments I got while wearing this though was “Oh so that’s a ThinkGeek dress, right?”
Thank you to Rich and Strange for the photography!
At Awesome Con a mere week ago, I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Jordan of Jordandené. Not only is she the maker of the ‘Kylo Ren is a Punk Bitch’ shirt (and so much more,) but she’s also a super awesome lady. We talked about fandom, how she got started designing, what goes in to making a shirt, and tons more!
How did you get involved in fandom?
The very beginning… I was super into Pokémon in third or fourth grade. That was the first all-in-fandom thing I did and then I phased it out in middle school, high school, and college. I read Harry Potter senior year of college and that was it. I joined a Harry Potter fan club, I went to my first con, and then I went to a thousand more cons and just got into all of it.
Well my next question was going to be “What are your biggest fandoms?” but I’m guessing Harry Potter?
Harry Potter 100%! Harry Potter is the top by far. Doctor Who… I like hanging out in the fandom but I’m never caught up on the show and I’ve never seen any of the classics. I just like hanging out. My favorite right now is Marvel because it’s just fun. Same thing though: I’ve only read two comics. I’ve seen the movies and I watch the shows but it doesn’t go deep. Harry Potter is the only one I know about.
When did you first get into designing everything you do for the shop?
Five years ago, I graduated college, I was a nanny part time, and I just wanted something fun to do on the side so I opened an Etsy shop, not expecting it to go anywhere. It was just a hobby and then it just grew from there. Which is amazing!
So what goes into making an item? Do you start with ‘I want to make a new Harry Potter shirt!’ and then go from there?
Recently, I’ve been getting so much feedback and so many requests from people that that’s been the start. Someone will ask for a Supernatural shirt or the Star Wars trailer will come out and people will go “Do this now!” So sometimes it’s a request and sometimes I’m just watching something and go “This is great.” It’s usually the idea first and then it’s narrowing down what the quote’s going to be, how long it has to be to fit, and what sounds cool. My husband actually does all of the hand lettering and ink and brushes it. I scan it in and get the design and choose the colors and print the shirt.
So you guys print them yourselves?
Yeah! I print them all myself right now. I just moved and now I have a little screen-printing studio in the basement of my apartment.
How do you even get into printing shirts?
I started sewing the aprons. That was the first thing; I had a sewing machine and fabric and that was it and then started a few other things. A friend of mine who knows how to screen print was like “You’re crazy. You can’t hand sew a business forever. Let me help you and teach you.” Thankfully, one of my best friends did it in college and knows how. Over a year and a half, she did the printing and I slowly picked it up.
How many people are involved in Jordandené?
Right now, it’s basically me and then there are people I work with on different aspects. My husband does the design, my friend is my screen-printing consultant, and I have another friend who helps sew. There are people doing different things—it’s not like I’m a team of one because I know how to do everything but at the end of the day, all the emails and photos and site stuff is me.
How do you find enough hours in the day to handle it all? You’re very active on social media.
We were chatting on Instagram two days ago.
This is just what I do! The fun thing about social media is that I have friends there so I have fun doing it so it’s not just like I’m doing this from 9-5 and then forgetting about it for the rest of the day. I just live it. That’s how it works right now.
I found out about you guys via Facebook—I think one of my friends posted the Kylo Ren shirt—
So would you say that social media is something that’s helped you grow the company?
Totally! My whole business is online except for 10 cons a year. Without social networks… honestly the reason that conventions work is because I meet people online and then they come hang out with me in person. [There was some laughing here since that’s exactly what I did!] If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have business.
Switching gears a little bit: how do you decide between making a design part of your regular line or having it be a shirt of the month?
It’s either something that I’m not sure will sell well or… I use the shirt of the month as an experiment. If it goes well, I can say “Oh this is a fandom people love!” or “This was a good idea. Maybe I should bring it back someday.” Or when there’s something that I just want to do and I have no idea if other people will like them or not. I did a Kurt Vonnegut quote last week and that’s not a sustainable new product but I just wanted to and I wanted one. Shirt of the month is mostly for designs where it’s more questionable how it’s going to sell.
Has the Kylo Ren is a Punk Bitch shirt made its way into the normal line up yet?
That wasn’t even a shirt of the month. That was a birthday present to myself as a joke. I really thought I would sell zero. I was like, “No one has seen this skit. No one will care about this.” It became my most popular item in two and a half weeks. It outsold the thing I’d sold the most of over the last two years in a few weeks. If you Google me, that shirt comes up first. It’s hilarious.
Any design teases that you might want to give us?
Actually, I have six new designs here at Awesome Con that aren’t online yet and no one knows about. Honestly, the teasers are just things that came out in the last two weeks because I wanted them. July’s shirt is a super experiment. It is a song lyric, which I haven’t done yet. It’s a little bit of tribute and a little bit related to my personal life. It’s a song lyric from a song that was in my wedding ceremony but is also very current and a tribute to an artist so you’ll know right away…
Yes, so that’s coming up in July because it’s my anniversary and it’s going to be fun, summer colors.
Pretty sure there’s a certain comic book writer I’m going to have to link this to because he’s a huge fan.
Okay so my last question for you is: what is your dream goal for Jordandené?
My super dream goal is to have a store. I don’t want it to be a me store; I want it to be a Fangirl Haven store. That’s a super down the line dream goal. My dream goal until three months ago was to have a studio and then I got one. It would be really fun to have a full team mostly because I think it would be really cool to hang out with the kind of people who would be my team. If I can grow to the point where I have a little social media help and a little customer service help and a little manufacturing help, that would be great. The goal is just to do this long enough to meet a lot of cool people. Next year, I’m going to try and do more shows. It’s going to be my year of cons. I’m excited about that! I want to go to the west coast and meet all my internet friends there. So yeah, that’s really the goal!
I was already excited knowing that Elektra was going to show up in Season 2 of Daredevil but then they went and cast Elodie Yung and I was over the freaking moon. Hell yes for another hapa actress in the MCU! Of course, then I went and watched the show and fell completely in love with her. This version of her costume was on my list by the end of its first episode and I desperately want the final version to happen one day. There’s just something about the way she says “Matthew.” And also how she kicks so much butt.
The ever amazing Justin was took pictures of me at Awesome Con 2016 and through photography magic, made a convention hall wall look totally legit and appropriate for the character. By the way, he’s an absolute gem of a photographer and you should absolutely shoot with him if you get the chance. This shoot put me through my paces but was totally worth it.
Elektra Natchios: Bria
Photography by Rich and Strange Photography
I just really really really loved being Elektra, guys. <3