This TikTok Creator Went Viral After Recreating Her Grandmother’s Fashion Sketches
Grandmas are a hit on TikTok.
Last summer, TikTok-er Lex Nicoleta spawned the coastal grandmother trend, and now creator Julia, who goes by @boringbb on the app, is taking off for bringing her grandmother’s fashion sketches from the ’40s to real life.
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The Chicago-area resident, who has 468,000 followers, has gone viral over and over again for taking sketches her grandmother did during her fashion-school era and surprising her by creating and modeling the looks.
Some have gone viral, including one where Julia models white Hot Pants, a white short-sleeve top and gigantic pale pink bow at the waist, which garnered 20.7 million views on TikTok and about 4 million on Instagram. “I guess if you want to, you could say it’s a media attraction, sure. But for me, it’s almost cyclical [laughs],” Julia said. “But I have never totaled up all of the numbers. I have no idea.”
Among her other standout posts was a video of her descending a few stairs wiping tears from her eyes wearing an airy pastel gown that her grandmother declared “needs to go to a spring ball,” which got 4.6 million views.
Julia, who uses her first name online for privacy and has a full-time job she preferred not to identify, never attended fashion school, and her pre-TikTok sewing training started and ended with sixth grade economics class.
To create her grandmother’s sketches, she taught herself to sew — first by hand, then with a machine — over the past two years.
Her grandmother, pictured in the videos with her back to the camera, attended a now-shuttered fashion school, but dropped out and never worked in fashion.
“A lot of it is not perfectly one-for-one recreations of her sketches. Usually, I will just pick one of her designs. I started with what looked easiest to my untrained eye. That probably wasn’t actually what was easiest [laughs] but it was what my brain at the time perceived as was the easiest,” Julia said.
Julia noted that her grandmother has resumed sketching again, a skill she picked up as a teenager. Having recreated more than 10 of the sketches, some have taken two months, due partially to other demands in her life. Others have been whipped up as quickly as in two days. “It really comes down to how much time I am able to give the project and how quickly I work that day,” she said.
As much as the 27-year-old would love to do a collaboration, a few talks about potential ventures have not panned out. Thus far, most of the requests have been from individuals looking for custom wedding dresses and other designs. “Very flattered” as she is by the offers, she prefers for now ‘to make her little videos for the internet,” she said.
Typically, she will draw inspiration from one of her grandmother’s 50 existing sketches and flip a vintage find by upcycling it or design something often with repurposed materials.
One she started posting the sketch-inspired posts to TikTok, they took off “immediately,” she said. The first reeled in 3 million views in 24 hours — in 2021, before she even knew how to sew.
Should someone or a company approach her about a collaboration or in-house design job, the social media star said that she would be very open to those prospects. “The numbers would just have to make sense for their company and my business. Previously, it just hasn’t worked out. I am always open to every opportunity. I like to hear from people.”
Copycats can find a few tutorials on her TikTok explaining how she handles the process — thrifting for fabrics and repurposing select aspects of a dress or the garment.
Last week Julia reinterpreted Kendall Jenner’s Met Gala look, by using finds in her closet — upcycling a pair of slacks, a sequin skirt, a sequin dress and added gloves and an oversize white collar that were vintage and belonged to her grandmother. Adhering to the event’s “in honor of Karl” dress code, Jenner’s no-pants sequin creation was by Marc Jacobs.
Julia explained her interpretation on TikTok, “I didn’t even attempt the [sky-high platform] boots, because that just would have been a giant headache. Overall, throwing this together in a day, I think it turned out pretty cute. Someone on Instagram said I looked like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and now that’s all that I can think of. But I could definitely wear this with a skirt, as grandma prefers.”
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