A LEGO Dress that Continues to Inspire

From Fergie’s LEGO bustier frock designed by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2011 to Rie Hosokai’s LEGO wedding dress for Tokyo's "Piece of Peace" charity exhibit at the Parco Museum in 2013, LEGO is a source of inspiration for many designers and stylists around the world. If you’re thinking LEGO is just a toy, it’s not. LEGO is also an outlet for people of all ages to express creativity and imagination, and we saw it recently being used in that way at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. It was a welcome surprise when Ashley Eckstein walked down the runway at the Her Universe Fashion Show in a stunning, show-stopping LEGO dress.

Even though July is past us, that dress is still something that I think about from time to time. I remember seeing the concept art while volunteering at the Fashion Show and it making my jaw drop and stirring my emotions because Ahsoka Tano is a character that I love and adore. For her image to be captured on a canvas made of LEGO, you can’t help but think that’s one of the coolest things ever!

That said, how does one construct a dress of that nature? I remember some people saying, “It must be glue holding it together,” and others were confused as to how a dress made of plastic bricks moved so freely on the runway.

"I’m going to be making a base dress and then sewing a base of black LEGO on top of it, like sewing on buttons,” said fashion designer Andrew McLaine in the Her Universe Fashion Show docu-series on Comic-Con HQ earlier this summer. "It’s going to start out basically a fully sequined evening gown, except, instead of sequins, it’s going to be LEGO pieces, and then, the art comes alive.”

The base itself took three weeks to accomplish, and McLaine stated that he drew inspiration from Zach Posen’s innovative and structured designs as well as the dresses that were featured in celebration of the "Manus x Machine: Fashion in an Age of Technology” theme at this year’s Met Gala. Afterward, LEGO artist Nathan Sawaya took the dress and spent another 80 hours building the design.

"A lot of my artwork focuses on the human form, but it’s static,” said Sawaya at an EW sponsored event at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. "It’s a static sculpture and this was the first time that I’d ever done anything wearable that had some motion to it. I think that was really part of the process because when we first started, we had different ideas about how we can make this work. And we had to come up with a concept that was very LEGO-y but also mobile. And that was really where Andrew came up with the small pieces really acting as sequins."

At the end of the collaboration, the dress had over 10,000 LEGO bricks and weighed between 20 and 25 pounds.

The dress could have easily been a regular sequined dress, but what took it to another place was using LEGO bricks as a substitution. Fashion is about being creative and different, but most importantly, "Fashion is about dreaming and making other people dream” (Donatella Versace). I love coming out of an event or seeing something that’s making waves in the headlines and feeling inspired by it. Although I don’t make fashion pieces for a living or even as a hobby, that dress makes me want to look at things differently and challenge myself to think outside the box, and I hope it did the same for future fashion designers looking to take fandom and fashion to the next level.

Johnamarie Macias is a geek fashion enthusiast from New York City with a passion for all things Star Wars. She is the owner of TheWookieeGunner.com and co-host on the Jedi News Network podcast dedicated to Star Wars and geek fashion, Galactic Fashion. Follow @BlueJaigEyes on Twitter and Instagram for her personal thoughts and other highlights. Also, follow @GalacticFashion on Twitter and @galacticfashiontwg on Instagram, where Johnamarie keeps fans and listeners informed with Star Wars fashion updates.