Classy Looking Nerf Herder Returns to San Diego Comic Con as part of the Her Universe Fashion Show! Classy Looking Nerf Herder is a one woman design company started by Lynne Marie Martens. Lynne is a seamstress and costume-maker based in Los Angeles. Her expertise lies in garment construction, aging and dyeing, corsetry, draping, and an extensive knowledge of fashion history. Much of her passion for costuming has led toward creating vintage and couture style fashion pieces inspired by pop culture through her brand Classy Looking Nerf Herder. She has twice been a finalist at the Her Universe Fashion Show that is held annually at San Diego Comic Con and was featured in the New York Times. Lynne has an MFA in Costume Design from CalArts and BA in Theatre Arts and English Literature from Westmont College. Her return to the Her Universe Fashion Show at 2018’s San Diego Comic Con has as super excited!
Tell us a little about you and how you got started designing clothes?
My mom taught me to sew when I was a kid. I made my own dresses for school dances in high school and college. I got started with designing costumes in the theatre department while at the same time continually being obsessed with mid-century fashion and still making clothes for myself in my spare time. Eventually all of those things merged into fashion that was inspired by my favorite characters. Classy Looking Nerf Herder is all about creating vintage and geek inspired clothing – and everything has pockets!
What are your favorite fandom for fashion?
Oh man, I have to choose??? I have favorite outfits, more than a favorite fandom above all else. My top three are: the Kylo Ren maxi dress that’s inspired by a 1940s evening gown, the Moana outfit, and the 1950s Harry Potter poodle skirt (I’m Slytherin 😉🐍).
How many SDCC have you attended? Do you always make designs for the different cons you attend?
I’ve gone to SDCC every year since 2013 and attend many other cons in the Southern California area all throughout the year. I always always always dress up. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not wear a cosplay or one of my designs to a con, it’s too much fun!!
How did you get involved with the Her Universe Fashion Show?
I saw the event listed in the SDCC program guide and just KNEW this was exactly the world I wanted to be in. I was incredibly lucky that I was picked to be a finalist the first year I submitted a design.
Can you tell us the story behind the pieces you designed for the Her Universe Fashion Show?
TARDIS Through the Wormhole — This one is inspired by the TARDIS from Doctor Who. The opening credits for Doctor Who often depict the TARDIS traveling through space and time in a whirlwind of colors and stardust. I wanted to create that in a dress. I custom designed and printed the fabric for the corset, which features the TARDIS on a dark rainbow starry background. The tutu skirt and train has a hoop base and it made with over 80 yards of netting and tulle. There are individually addressable RGB LED strands and copper string lights throughout the skirt and train. My friend, James Strain, helped me program the lights to glow in a similar rhythm to The Sound of Drums while providing the motion effect of the Wormhole. I was featured in the New York Times for this dress. I entered it into the Masquerade at the Gallifrey One convention in 2017 and won two Best in Show awards.
Enchanted Rose — This one is inspired by the Rose in Beauty and the Beast. B&tB has been my favorite Disney movie since it was first released in 1991. Disney was a huge part of my childhood and Beauty and the Beast is a story that stands the test of time. The bodice is shaped to look like a rose bud, the skirt is made from two layers of organza which represent the glass case the Rose is kept in. There are over 2000 handmade falling rose petals with the majority of them settled in the hemline and about 300 crystals in the skirt. I custom dyed all the colors in the dress. My favorite part about this dress is the movement of the skirt. It’s very flowy and romantic. I had a lot of people after the show tell me they wanted to wear it as their wedding dress.
How long does it take you to prepare for an event like this? What is the process like for you?
It can take months sometimes to prepare for the Fashion Show. I knew what my Phoenix design was going to be since August of last year, so I’ve definitely been thinking about it for a long time. Submissions for the show open and close during the month of April, which gives us designers about 2 1/2 months to prepare after we are chosen. I spent somewhere around 550 hours building my TARDIS Through the Wormhole dress and about 250 hours on my Enchanted Rose dress. Right now, I am listening to the Harry Potter audio books while I make my Phoenix dress. It’s a lovely thing to keep me company and also track how much time I spend.
What was the reaction to your pieces like?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the reaction is part of what keeps me going. It makes me so happy to hear from customers or clients about how beautiful and comfortable they feel in my clothes. The pieces I’ve done for the Her Universe Fashion Show certainly have a big WOW factor. There’s a thrill in hearing the audience scream in wonder or amazement over the results of your hard work and long hours. The fact that I get to share it with such a wide audience is truly an honor.
Video of the TARDIS dress at the Gallifrey Masquerade:
Thanks to @babsek79 for assisting me during the #gallifreyone #masquerade. She captured the lights out moment from backstage and the audience's reaction is pure gold. It was so much fun!! #cosplay #tardis #doctorwho @doctorwho_bbca #handmade #lights #lightsout #tardisdress #allofspaceandtime #geekcouture #geekgirl #fashionablygeek #heruniverse #classylookingnerfherder
Backstage video from the Her Uni 2017 show:
Feeling nostalgic tonight. Here's a BTS video from the @heruniverse show this summer. The roar of the crowd fills my heart. @cornellable is the best model, couldn't ask for better. Yay #teamrose ❤️🌹❤️ #heruniverse #heruniversefashionshow #sdcc #cosplay #geekcouture #geekfashion #rose #beautyandthebeast #enchantedrose #untilthelastpetalfalls #classylookingnerfherder
If you can say, what do you have planned for this year? We understand if you can’t reveal it yet!
I can tell you a little bit! My dress is inspired by Fawkes the Phoenix from the Harry Potter series. You might be able to catch some BTS of my process on my Instagram Stories, but the full reveal will have to wait until July 19th. I’m so excited about this one, it’s going to be beautiful. My friend and model, Kaitlin Cornuelle, will be walking the runway for me again this year and I will be wearing a dress inspired by Dumbledore to go with my Phoenix.
What is your favorite San Diego Comic Con memory?
Back to that 2013 SDCC — I was delayed in picking up my badge from my friend, which meant I was inside the convention center only 1 hour before the Sherlock panel was scheduled to start in Ballroom 20. I had heard all about the insane lines and as I walked along the hall, becoming more and more despondent that it was certainly impossible that I was going to get in, I heard someone yelling at me from the line, “HEY, you have the same shirt!” Lo and behold, I had the same Sherlock tshirt on as a guy in the line. The young woman who had yelled at me got her phone out to take a picture of us. Turns out she and I both had TARDIS phone cases. These two lovely people turned out to be Lacy and Spencer. They invited me to join their group in line and we were the last people to make it into the room! We have become good friends over the years and I feel honored that I got to attend their wedding about a year and a half ago.
There are so very many moments like these that happen at conventions. The people in the geek community can be some of the kindest, most generous, and fun people to be with. That’s what truly makes or breaks a convention for me. It’s not about the merch, or the signings, or the panels so much as enjoying and celebrating the things we love with one another.
We absolutely agree with Lynn that it’s the moments and the human connections that make conventions like San Diego Comic Con and the geek community in general such a wonderful place to be! We are so excited to see what else she has in store for us this year! If you will be attending San Diego Comic Con you can check out the Her Universe Fashion Show on July 19, 2018 6:00 PM PST at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, CA Harbor Ballroom. The world’s top “geek couture” fashion event, The Her Universe Fashion Show, is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year by returning to San Diego Comic-Con International with its biggest and best show yet. Host, actress, author of “It’s Your Universe” and Her Universe Founder, Ashley Eckstein, will be debuting a very special jaw-dropping gown created by 2013 fashion show winner, Andrew MacLaine.
To find out more about Lynne and her designs you can checkout her website: http://classylookingnerfherder.com or follow her on her social media below! Check out the gallery at the bottom of the page for a peak of her other fun designs she has created!
— Lynne Marie Martens (@ClassyLookingNH) March 25, 2018