Published Apr 7, 2019
Their Convention Meetcute Launched a Clothing Empire
Gold Bubble Clothing's Victoria Schmidt tells us how she and her husband started a 'Star Trek' fashion line.
By Victoria Schmidt
This is the story of cosplayers falling in love and starting a company: Gold Bubble Clothing. Jinyo and I met at a convention back in 2005 and have been together ever since. As cosplayers, we show our love for a fandom through the wearable arts. Unsurprisingly, we discovered that we shared a love of fashion. Jinyo enjoyed crafting original dresses for me to wear (TRON dress, anyone?), while I ran the geek fashion blog “Set to Stunning” for several years with my outstanding friend, Lindsay Orndorff.
Ten years ago, very little clothing existed for female geeks other than t-shirts, and even then they were men’s shirts, not even a woman’s cut or style. If I wanted something geeky, let alone fashionable, I had to mod an existing t-shirt I liked, create my own garment, or commission someone to create a garment for me. I’m grateful to have made it to the point where fashionable geeks find themselves at today — we have not only several online geek/pop-culture women’s clothing companies, but longstanding sections featuring geeky women’s wear in brick-and-mortar stores like Hot Topic, Box Lunch and Target. I’d like to think that the struggle for female geeks now isn’t the lack of choice, but instead that they’re perhaps a bit overwhelmed by all the amazing options they have.
Because of our cosplay background, it’s always been natural for Jinyo and I to just make something if it didn’t already exist. We’d see companies like Black Milk Clothing and Her Universe, firsts on the scene of female geek fashion (basically creating the category as we now know it; let’s be real here), come out with garments and designs we were excited to see produced, but maybe weren’t quite what we personally wanted as fans. A common conversation between Jinyo and myself would be “I like that, but, oh, wouldn’t it be great if there was a dress that had ____ on it?” With his background in graphic design, Jinyo often just designed something himself and sewed it up for me to wear. And whenever I wore these one-of-kind dresses to events and parties, I’d always be asked by friends and strangers alike where I bought it or how they could get one. Which is more or less how Jinyo came to start his own women’s clothing company in 2015, producing his own pop-culture inspired designs.
While there’s no doubt to us that fellow companies in the pop-culture clothing field are some level of geek, we fancy ourselves a bit more on this world’s ground floor than most. Jinyo and I spend every waking hour (and a fair amount of sleeping hours, too) immersed in everything geek culture. It’s just who we are. We’ve each been going to conventions and cosplaying for over two decades, and I’ve even had the pleasure of helping run conventions, including assisting with the costume contest at Star Trek Las Vegas the last couple of years. We can often be found at revival screenings of older Star Trek movies, in costume, of course. We both love collecting TV and movie props and other various artifacts, and I’m particularly obsessed with finding screen-accurate mid-century glassware used in TOS. Our cat, Uhura, spends much of her time in Jinyo’s replica of Kirk’s chair. We love chatting ad nauseam to one another about whatever random pop culture or geeky thing happens to come into our heads. That passion (obsession, really) is at the heart of our company and all the products we come out with.
From day one, we dreamed of licensing with a major franchise like Star Trek. But, as a tiny two-person company trying to survive in the fashion world, we weren’t sure it’d ever be possible. In the end, it started out exactly the way the company had started: I designed an original dress I wanted to wear to the San Diego Comic-Con premiere of Star Trek Beyond, Jinyo created it, and the dress was a hit. Everyone loved what I was wearing and CBS was interested in it becoming a licensed piece of Star Trek apparel. We are forever indebted to our friends at ANOVOS, who helped us nudge our foot in the licensing door by collaborating with us on a “mini” collection under their own Star Trek license. During that relationship we spent a little over a year gaining invaluable experience and an understanding of what it’s like to work with such a high-profile property, before we were in a position to approach Star Trek for our very own license.
Now, at our company, Gold Bubble Clothing, we specialize in dye-sublimated spandex dresses and leggings using higher-end, performance-quality fabric that we believe looks great on every shape and size. Our first collection release expandsed upon the “mini” collection we originally released under ANOVOS: A-line dresses, asymmetrical dresses and tunic tops, and leggings. But there’s so much we’re excited to do with Star Trek that goes well beyond that, and that we can’t wait to get to – tops of all kinds, jackets, cardigans, gymwear, loungewear, and even swimsuits.
Having our livelihood revolve around Star Trek and geek fashion is truly a dream come true for us. It’s impossible to describe how ridiculously cool, gratifying and immensely humbling it is when we see ladies post pictures of themselves wearing something we designed, that lets them express their love of their favorite fandom in a way that makes them feel pretty, fashionable and chic. We hope this collection release will be but the first of many to come, and we’re eager to make whatever lasting mark we can on the world of geek fashion for female Star Trek fans everywhere.
Victoria Schmidt is the Creative Director for Gold Bubble Clothing and owner of too many Tribbles (according to Jinyo).