She’s geek and she’s très chic. She has a BFA in Women’s Sportswear from the Fashion Institute of Technology, she’s interned for Michael Kors, studied knitwear abroad at the Politecnico di Milano, been mentored by Carolina Herrera, and blogs about the relationship between geekery and couture over at Fashion + Geekery. Meet Yissel Ayala (@TheDesignerGeek).
When she’s not celebrating geek-inspired high fashion, Ayala can be found hosting brunch for fellow lady geeks, as a founding member of Geek Girl Brunch, an NYC-based meetup group of ladies who geek out together. Mimosas are
usually always involved. Each month has a theme, and August’s is Marvel. Sign up here.
While you wait to discuss the tragedy of Gwen Stacy or a feminist critique of Captain America, check out Ayala’s interview with Being Geek Chic!
Q: Why and how did Geek Girl Brunch become a reality?
A: An excited Twitter convo between geek girls wanting to see each other and hang out IRL led to our inaugural brunch. After all the fun we had, it was natural for some of us to want to spread the joy and invite others into the fold. At that first brunch, Jamila and I briefly mentioned this to each other because: great minds. When Rachel joined us for the first time, she echoed our sentiments, our passion and our commitment. For a group of talented bloggers who enjoy networking, drinking, and meeting new people to geek out with, growth was eminent. Who isn’t a fan of socializing with like-minded folk in a casual, relaxed setting? Finding those girls was the logical next step. That brunch became our first planning meeting for expansion.
Now we’re hosting NYCC’s Fan Girls’ Night Out (they actually came to us), and plans are underway to grow our network internationally. We’re very grateful to have each other, and to have support from our newly appointed Officers Leslie and Melissa. Somehow they find the time between running the International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club, and writing a remarkable YA trilogy (soon to be best seller, just wait) to help out from time to time. A great organization attracts great people.
Q: What geeky fashion trends can we look forward to in the fall?
A: Excuse me while I run back to my blog for reference! Fall has no shortage of geeky trends. That’s due in part to the Advertising geniuses at Disney, that have actively been reaching out to and partnering with designers. Star Wars ruled the runways at fashion week, appearing in NYC and London, and that was by no means a coincidence. That was genius marketing. Even Red Valentino’s fall collection is a Disney collaboration. Entirely inspired by Snow White, it features apple motifs and dresses and accessories emblazoned with the princesses’ face.
This fall also marks the debut collection from the newly rebranded MBMJ (Marc by Marc Jacobs). That collection, inspired by Power Rangers, ninjas, samurai and BMX, harmoniously blended those influences together to bring us… Akira. I watched it and thought… this is a very Akira-esque fashion show. It’s a collection for a tough, strong girl with attitude and it was brilliantly executed.
Along this same vein, the McQ Alexander McQueen fall collection features prints by Manga artist Yoshiyasu Tamura (Fudegami). Prepare to see a lot of cheap copy cat looks of these high-end collections make their way into mass-market chains .
Along with the obviously geeky, I’m really looking forward to a not-so-geeky, but happy trend: COLOR. Drab and dark this fall/winter ain’t. from color blocked fur coats (thank you Prada), to bold graphics and painterly prints, this coming season will be more saturated than cell animation. Matter of fact, cartoons do make an appearance in some of these prints. Rest assured there will still be plenty of black and grey if you’re anti color. But plenty of metallics for you to work into your wardrobe too.
Expect fantasy too. Fairytales a la the aforementioned Snow White collection. Precious motifs like roses, stars, hearts, cute woodland creatures… show up in cocktail and evening dresses. Every girl can be a princess this season.
Oh, and the fellas? They’ll be Knights and Princess.
Q: When did you discover you were “geeky”?
A: You know, when I was camping out for a midnight Harry Potter release in a hooded cloak, brandishing a wand and a drawn on lightning bolt scar (directly over my real one)… I thought nothing of it. I think you realize when someone actually tells you. The moment you wax poetic about a character/book/film that someone else couldn’t care less about, and they respond in kind with a roll of the eyes. I don’t remember having that moment. I do vaguely remember my first trips to the Way Station. Developing friendships with people who identified as geeks and having them welcome me into the fold is probably what helped me accept the label. Attending Wasabassco burlesque shows and becoming a part of that sexy geek family didn’t hurt either!
Q: If you could take any fictional character out for a drink, whom would you choose and what would you drink?
A: I wont even attempt to give some haughty contrived answer here. Harry Potter and I are splitting a bottle of merlot and I’m hoping for a hook-up here. Ginny be damned.
Q: What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
A: If I may be so candid here… I grew up with an abusive father who took every opportunity to remind me that, I was fat, I was ugly, I would never find love, and I would never achieve anything. I wish I could go back and warn myself not to listen, and refuse to be broken. Because he was wrong…..He was so wrong.
Emma Bauer is a Being Geek Chic Contributor. Clearly, she’s got great taste. She is a PR enthusiast, dog lover, tea drinker, art appreciator, and of course, aspires to Be Geek Chic. Follow her on Twitter: @emmalynnbauer