Nerd alert

Photo Credt: Will Tallent/The Paisano

San Antonio native Crissy Baker, 27 definitely treasures her status as a self-proclaimed nerd, sitting across the dining room table in a Pac Man dress she created from a bit of old bed sheet fabric.


Baker found a way to carve out her own unique contribution to her beloved nerd compatriots with the creation of Nerd Alert Design, a fashion label devoted to giving the feminine members of nerdom a fashionable alternative to screen printed Star Wars t-shirts and one-size-fits-all Wonder Woman costumes. A member of her own target demographic, Baker says Nerd Alert works “to provide a nice way to say ‘I like video games’ in something other than a t-shirt.”


Walking into Baker’s home, which sits in a suburban neighborhood on the southeast side of San Antonio, it is easy to assume that clothing the nerd culture is an aim decidedly close to Baker’s heart. Posters adorn the walls featuring various animated creations, a signed poster from sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison and even a picture of Baker with the Evil Dead icon, Bruce Campbell.


“One of the perks of the job is getting the opportunity to go to comic-cons and meet amazing people like Wil Wheaton, and then getting to call it work.” Baker says.
Baker got the idea for the clothing line last year when she was sitting on her couch one afternoon watching reality television and absorbing the chronicles of contemporary nerd culture. The show, Geek Love, featured Sci-fi speed dating at Comic-Con and Baker noticed a girl in what she described as a “really poorly fitted” homemade costume.


The girl had managed to score the elusive date, but was at a complete loss when trying to decide what she should wear. Baker pondered on a solution and says she “thought it would be cool if you could make a costume that was convertible into a dress.” A light bulb went off in Baker’s head that would eventually lead to the creation of the quirky clothing design studio appropriately dubbed, Nerd Alert.


Nerd Alert Designs launched on June 1 of last year. Chief designer and primary seamstress, Baker, started sewing around 10 years ago with the influences of both her mother and her grandmother at her side.


Since then, she has worked at shops ranging from an Etsy store named Oh Sheet! to a tailor outside of a military base. The precision required of tailoring military uniforms “really allowed me to sharpen my skills,” says Baker.


Nerd Alert headquarters is run out of Baker’s home. Apart from the sewing room, which boasts a wide array of fabric prints, featuring everything from Power Rangers to Star Wars, there is also a sewing machine strategically placed in front of the television in the living room. Thus Baker is able to keep up with the latest Dr. Who while still sharpening her craft.


Baker is still in awe at the broad success Nerd Alert has enjoyed among the nerd community across the nation. “It completely blows my mind… I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal.”


Contrary to her expectations, within a month of launching, Nerd Alert found itself being featured on popular nerdy and digital culture blogs such as Gizmodo and Boing Boing. The demand for Nerd Alert’s geeky creations exploded and quickly proved a valid niche in the fashion community.


Run with the help of her sister Kathy Baker and friends Amanda Guerra-Deibel and Sofi Leggett, Baker has managed to create a clothing line, that beyond its peculiar exterior, has established itself as a bastion for the those seeking to express their inner- nerdom—with style. Baker noted that Nerd Alert thrives as a product of combined effort. “All having the same interests and motivations—getting to work with my best friends on this project has been an amazing aspect of this journey.”


In only its first year of existence, Nerd Alert has appeared in a feature for the San Antonio Express-News and actor Bruce Campbell tweeted “Get yours today!” in regards to a dress inspired by the Evil Dead film franchise in which he starred. Nerdist Channel Hostess of Just Cos, Chloe Dykstra, wore a Nerd Alert Wookiee-Ewok creation when she appeared as a guest on Epic Meal Time with her boyfriend, Talking Dead host, Chris Hardwick.


Looking into the future Baker says, “I will keep doing this as long as I can with the hopes of providing a nice, feminine alternative so you can feel pretty in your Star Wars dress.”


In lieu of the release of the remade Evil Dead movie, Nerd Alert sold an Army of Darkness script signed by Campbell in order to raise money for Child Advocates of San Antonio (CASA) which is a local group that campaigns for the welfare of abused and neglected children and youth. “[Nerd Alert] wanted to take the opportunity to use the script that we had the good fortune to acquire and make something even more positive out of it. CASA is a non-profit that advocates for children that have no other voice,” Baker explains.


Baker has also been hired to make super hero costumes for a film entitled Now Hiring, which is currently in production.


Due to the overwhelming demand for their geek chic creations, Nerd Alert temporarily closed at the end of last year, but Baker plans on opening their website and Facebook store in late April. Their custom handcrafted dresses have, in the past, ranged from $100-$160.


You can find Nerd Alert Designs on either their Facebook page or their website at http://www.nerdalertdesigns.com.

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