An October tradition for my friends and me is attending New York Comic Con (NYCC). This is a time when I, and my fellow geeks from the metro area, can escape reality for a few days! The merchandise and cosplays at this year’s New York Comic Con didn’t miss a beat.
A few of my fellow geek gals participated in a ClulessXHarryPotter mashup (shouts to Chavon of Geeky & Creepy for the idea). It was awesome! Yes, that is me being the only Slytherin (a lovable Slytherin) in the group. The blazer is killah, snagging it on Esty along with the Harry Potter Patch bag from Hot Topic. I predict there will be more group cosplays in the future for me, including a repeat of this one :)
Since I’ve been attending regional comic cons recently, I have become stoked about the panels! Connecting with fellow geeks on topics that matter: mental health, diversity, and geek journalism, this year at NYCC they didn’t disappoint. A highlight for many was “Fashioning Fiction: The Aesthetics of Fantasy Worlds” panel, which included Geek Girl Brunch co-founder Yissel Ayala. Yissel along with 6 panelists broke down what makes fashion fantastical and how they find inspiration in the real world to clothe the denizens of their imaginary realms.
Yissel is a visual merchandiser and has a BFA in Women’s Sportswear from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT Alum Woot Woot), she’s has been mentored by Carolina Herrera and studied knitwear at Politecnico Di Milano in Milan, Italy
I had the opportunity to speak with YIssel after the panel, check it out:
O.C.O: What led you submit for the panel
Y.A: My friend and cheerleader Erica Shultz encouraged me. We'd gotten to know each other through me moderating her panels at New Jersey Comic Expo, so she knew I was beyond capable. Actually, "encouraged," is an understatement. She'd regularly e-mail and text me reminders to brainstorm ideas and the panel submission deadline. Ha! She really pushed for me to do this, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Soon after, I visited my friend Melissa Grey to get her take and bounce ideas off of her over wine (like you do). I knew I had to do something around fashion. Around design - A subject I'm passionate about, knowledgeable, have credibility in. But, what else? Well, I love books.... It was Melissa that suggested the aesthetics of fantasy worlds. It was pretty perfect. Here I was talking to my published author best friend, so I knew I'd at least have one guaranteed panelist onboard.
I went home and drafted out some copy, came up with the name, "Fashioning Fiction", had Melissa reply to my e-mail with even better copy, sought out potential panelists with her help, and the panel was born.
O.C.O: What did you want to teach/accomplish with the panel?
Y.A: I wanted to talk about fashion for an hour without it becoming as superficial as red carpet coverage before a major awards show.
When people think of literature, what words spring to mind? Smart. Profound. Classic. How does the average person view fashion? Is it fun? Well, you and I know that. But then there are people who think: "superficial," who don't realize that, "smart," "profound," and, "classic," are all terms that apply to fashion too.
It was important for me to be able to celebrate fashion as a crucial world-building tool. So, I put a lot of thought and care into my questions and presentation as a whole. Through PowerPoint I created a visual narrative. I told an easy to follow story, first on Literature’s contributions to fashion, citing prominent literary works and designer achievements, which allowed me to dive into the heart of my panel, fashion's very necessary contribution to storytelling. My approach worked. It really fucking worked.
O.C.O: How'd you come to know your panel mates?
Y.A: They're my friends, and friends of friends. I find already knowing someone makes asking them to be on your panel way easier!
O.C.O: If you could have a follow up panel to this one, what would it focus on?
Y.A: I think I may just do a round 2 of this panel, as I already have some interested parties. It's more than I could've hoped for.
I do like the idea of discussing the great style icons of literature and their influence on modern fashion. Maybe I'll attempt that at BookCon? We'll see!
As I left New York Comic Con, I could not help but notice the increased attendance from last year! I learned later that attendance rose to over 200,000 to be exact!! How awesome is that?! New York Comic Con continues to get better and better. I started going in 2013. Each year I leave the con more confident, inspired, and creative. Until next year!