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Design contest seeks geeky garb for Comic-Con catwalk

Her Universe, purveyor of sci-fi stuff for women, will choose 30 contestants to compete on the Comic-Con catwalk for a chance to co-design a retail fashion collection.

Do you consider yourself the Anna Sui of "Star Wars"? Or perhaps the Vivienne Westwood of Westeros? Crafty fans and amateur designers are welcome to enter the first-ever Her Universe "Geek Couture" competition and fashion show at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. Two winners will have the chance to co-create new Her Universe collections for retail chain Hot Topic.

Her Universe team member Cat Carson came up with this Alexander McQueen-inspired design and created the piece with Doug Dunnam and Tara Jane. Kelsey Edwards Photography

Designers 18 years and older can submit women's fashion designs based on anything that's celebrated at Comic-Con, original or inspired by popular media. The designs can be "geek couture" or ready-to-wear outfits, but not cosplay costumes.

"Cosplay is a very important part of Comic-Con, but fans cannot wear their cosplay creations every day throughout the year," actress and Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein told Crave. "So fans have taken to geek fashion to express their fandom on a regular basis with what I like to call 'everyday cosplay' or costumed-inspired fashion. I've been seeing a trend at SDCC with fans who are showing up in their own fashion-inspired creations, so I would like to give them a stage to showcase their creativity."

Deadline for submissions to Her Universe is April 4 and fashion show contestants will be selected by April 18. Her Universe sells all kinds of merchandise for female sci-fi fans.

"We are looking for male or female designers who can design and create their own look for women's fashion," Eckstein said. "If they can't sew, like me, I recommend that they find someone who can. I have several friends that I collaborate with to make my own designs. We are also giving the designers the chance to be their own model or provide their own model for their design."

Two winning designers will get the opportunity to co-design, with Eckstein, an exclusive Her Universe fashion collection for Hot Topic. One winner will be chosen by a panel of judges from the world of fashion and one will be chosen by the show audience.

The fashion show will take place during the convention on July 24, near the San Diego Convention Center at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel. Nerdist Industries will produce all video and media distribution of the event itself.

Geek fashions are appearing on more and more runways lately as high-fashion designers such as Rodarte and Preen showing off their inner geeks, so why not give geeks a chance to show off their own couture ideas that marry the catwalk with Catwoman?

"It was only a matter of time before fashion and the geek culture collided," Eckstein said. "I'm thrilled at the attention geek fashion is getting. Four and a half years ago people looked at me cross-eyed when I said I wanted to make 'Star Wars' T-shirts just for women. Look how far geek fashion has come! It's so exciting."