The Andrew Yang Collection

The signature look of Andrew Yang’s dolls is unmistakable: slender, long-legged, big-eyed, and beautifully costumed. Principally a fashion doll designer, Andrew’s lifelong affection for pop culture became a welcome opportunity to blend his creative designs and unique couture styling into original expressions of beloved DC characters. Andrew and Daniel’s work has been displayed the world over, praised and celebrated in New York, Paris, Hong Kong, and now debuting at San Diego Comic-Con.

To learn more about the dolls and the process, we asked Andrew and Daniel, founders of the AY Collection a few questions.

Just a heads up, Andrew and Daniel’s love for pop-culture and comics causes this blog to spill into a two parts. Be sure to read it all!

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Why did you want to work with Sideshow on a collection?

 A: I’ve been working in the fashion industry for several years, taking the dolls all over the world in installations and luxury retail, and have been approached several times about making a doll line that was more commercially available. There are only a handful of companies that are capable of a certain level of quality—and fewer who understand how to maintain the essence of a character and story across product.

D: Having been longtime fans of comics and the worlds built around their mythologies, Sideshow really is top in capturing the power and flexibility of the comic archetypes in physical form. We’ve grown up with these characters in so many varied and amazing iterations, be it page, celluloid and screen. Sideshow has a special magic in capturing the archetypes, while still breathing new, fully realized and loving takes on our heroes.

That’s what the fashion industry attempts to do collection after collection, and now we get to meld our fashion dolls into a world we adore.

What are your favorite elements of superhero costumes?

 D: In the comic world we really get to embrace that inhuman drama and boldness in the best way. What appears in the comic books or cartoons will always have to take new form in the physical realm. The hero’s cape can defy physics on the page, thanks to Kryptonian fibers, but in a real life, the garment fits on a doll or maquette very differently. How do we take the meta-human magic and translate it? How can you take the essence of super heroics and bring it to our reality?

A: It’s a fantastic and exciting challenge to re-interpret all the details. Finding the balance between function and fantasy, whether it be a utility belt, impossibly high boots, super body conscious tights, or impossibly structured shoulder pads, high collars… those are some of the elements where fashion and comics really intersect.

How have superhero costume fashions evolved over time?

 A: Heroes really are reflections of their time—very often ahead of their time. So much could be said about this—Wonder Woman is one of the most straightforward examples, of this—BDSM as outwear in the 1940s! I’m going to give this one to Danny— he’s practically a scholar on the topic.

D: The Golden age gave birth to bright primary colors, sleek onesies, with clean lines, and the birth of the tights. These early depictions have really become mainstays for a lot of these characters especially in the DC universe: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and that’s a rare and fantastic feat in regards to the timelessness of certain design.

As time progressed to the Silver Age, colors and details became even more vibrant and techno-colored camp sets in through the 60’s. We’re not afraid of color and we’re thrilled to imbue the silver age notes with our iterations of the Bat-Family.

The Bronze age of Comics is when we start to see the real shift. More real-life fashions and themes seep into our heroes and villains. Comics became more socially conscious while straddling the fantasy of far out worlds. Hints of realism sneak into the books and that starts to reflect their costumes. The aesthetics of the female characters really begin to shift. The skirts got slightly shorter, necklines got deeper, hair got bigger and stylized, but also the fantasy and funkiness of the 70’s really takes over. We get nods to horror and slicker sci-fi style, Wonder Woman goes for plain clothes, Super Girl get’s adventurous with hemlines, The Marvel Girls become stars in their mini skirts and O-ring jump suits. The beauty of diversity and other-ness get the spotlight for the first time.

The 80’s hit and comics get bawdier and bold. Spider women with webbed dolman sleeves and She-hulks in mock neck halter tops dazzle, and deliver. These lady clones could have been throw-a ways but they survived and thrived the test of time. After this, we hit a much darker tone heading into the later 80’s. In the Modern age, we dip our toe in darkness. Heroes suffer their own real tragedies and face their humanity and person al guilt, a more blatant and sexually charged tone erupts. The bodies get bulkier on the men, the bust get bigger on the women, the bikinis are high cut, the shoulder pads get massive, everyone gets a jacket, the belts and pouches multiply like gremlins, capes get long and lavish.

The 90’s gives golden age heroes facing their own demise: Batman with super sharp and high ears gets broken by a massive juice head, Superman dies and comes back with a new Fabio long haired look. Their side kicks even get a make over. We get a contemporary, and mouthy leather-clad clone Superboy. Robin drops the corny jokes, gets a new font, and finally a little dignity with a dark tight! The grit of the street and urban nuances sneak in, teams go para-military and vigilantes go hard as nails.

By the early 2000’s when Marvel hits the big screen, plain starts to came into play on the page—favoring ‘function’ and ‘wearable’ over cool. Heroes have faced their demons and weakness, and now have come out the other side, a little less jaded and slightly more self –aware. They are leather clad, with tees and separates, their worlds started to look more realistic and functional. Boots, belts and armor detailing are more realistic as they’ve ever been, the practical hero aesthetic is born, seemingly begging to be on the big screen. Simultaneously the cartoon universes have laid their stake and thrived in their own right, which we happily echo and embellish with our Gotham girls.

Today, we see a healthy dose of pop nostalgia, heroic self awareness and a nice melding of the deep classics. That hint of spandex camp, real-life grit and the subtle gloss of now really make it a fun time for comics and hero- worship in day-o-day fashions.

Check out Part Two of the Andrew Yang Collection!