This week’s Geek of the Week is the seamstress half of the amazing cosplay duo Fred and Elle Designs. These two work together to make some of the most amazing cosplay creations you’ll see at a con, and usually take home first prize. Some of you may have even seen Fred competing on SyFy’s Cosplay Melee. Read on to learn more about Elle, her geeky interests and her own personal projects in fashion design.
1) Let’s start with the basics – name, what do you do, etc.
I’m Ellen Leroy-Reed, a costumer, seamstress, fledgling fashion designer and art stylist, nerd, and dabbling creative type. When I’m not fawning over fabric, I am at the GTM Research Reserve heading up their nonprofit as the Executive Director and conserving precious coastal ecosystems. You can see more of the costumes at www.fredandelledesigns.com and follow on Instagram at @fredandelledesigns and @ellenleroyreed
2) What do you geek out on?
Have you ever been asked what your favorite film is and you immediately forget every movie you’ve ever seen in your life and blurt out “Uhhh, Star Wars?” With that, I love to geek out watching Star Wars movies. I guess I would have to say I’m a pop culture geek, though. I love shows like Bob’s Burgers and Parks and Recreation, but I’m also a big Doctor Who and Sherlock fan. I can’t pass up watching any of the Marvel films when they’re rerun on TV, and much to my husband’s chagrin, I will watch any Tina Fey/Amy Poehler film over and over and over.
3) Marvel or DC? and Why?
See above — Marvel, of course. The characters have depth and flaws. Even those with outlandish superpowers still seem “real”. On top of that, the Marvel/DC argument was sealed for me when Black Panther came out. Sorry, DC. There is literally nothing you can do at this point to oust Marvel in my heart.
4) Star Wars or Star Trek? and Why?
I’m torn on this one. They are both dear to my heart and, in my humble opinion, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. One is a War and one is a Trek. I mean, c’mon. They’re totally different adventures! One is an epic battle between good and evil. The other is like if The Office got super-serious and took Dunder Mifflin into space, which leads me to the real winner in all this which is The Orville. That show is amazing.
5) Were you a geeky kid or did you come into it later in life?
I was a chubby redheaded girl in the ’80s. Of course I was a geeky kid. What other choice did I have? My fandoms back then were very steeped in pop culture. I was obsessed with movies and TV shows. I became super-obsessed with the Comedy Channel in high school and spend days watching clips from comedies. (Note — back in the day, Comedy Central was called the Comedy Channel and it was basically a comedy version of MTV, so they played short clips of funny movies, TV shows, comedians, etc.) (Note Part Two for those of you who are too young to remember — back in the day, MTV used to play music videos. It was the best and I’m still mad at them for changing.) I became SO obsessed with the Comedy Channel that I began writing to one of the hosts, which led to several by-phone appearances on the show and an offer to intern in NYC when I was 17. My mother said no and to this day her nickname is “DreamDasher.”
6) Are your kids into the geek stuff too?
Yes, but they probably wouldn’t be considered geeks by today’s standard. I have three children aged 26, 23, and 21. They were all into anime and manga at one point or another. They all played in the school band. They all play video games. My youngest is a studio art major at UCF who wants to go into conceptual art design for video games. My son is interested in music production and my oldest is following in my footsteps by dabbling in business and still trying to figure stuff out. Other than that, though, they’re rather normal, well-adjusted human beings. To this day, I do not know how that happened.
7) Are you working on anything right now you’d like to share?
I’ve taken some time off from heavy duty cosplay to focus on fashion design and art direction with my good friend Heather Blackwell with Geek Chic Photography. We have been creating editorial couture fashion shoots and planning to do some collaborative design work. (Be sure to follow my art Instagram at @ellenleroyreed for that type of stuff!) But, I am working on some Dora Milaje bead embroidery for a client as well as a Marvel Couture gown that I am super excited about since it will allow me to marry my two favorite creative outlets — fashion and cosplay. As con season approaches, though, I plan to pull together a Warhammer 40K cosplay that is totally outside of my comfort zone, so that will be fun!
Thanks to Elle for answering my seven geeky questions! If you are a Geek Mama interested in being a featured Geek of the Week, send me an e-mail!