- Julia, a 27-year-old TikToker, has been making dresses designed by her grandmother in the 1940s.
- She said her grandmother was an aspiring designer who dropped out of fashion school in her teens.
- She told Insider she wanted to surprise her grandmother and share her designs with the world.
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TikTok viewers are engrossed in the story of a woman from Chicago who has been making dresses that her grandmother designed at fashion school — and filming her grandma’s appreciative reaction to share on the platform.
Julia, a 27-year-old TikTok user who asked that Insider withhold her last name to protect her privacy, said she was visiting her grandma, Georgie, one day in January 2021, looking through old sketches of dresses that Georgie designed when she was a teenager.
Georgie declined to comment for this article, but according to Julia, she went to fashion school in the 1940s and dreamed of being a fashion designer, but dropped out before completing her studies because she needed to care for some family members who were unwell.
When Julia saw the sketches, she thought they were beautiful, she told Insider.
“I knew grandma was talented, but I was like, wow, these are really much better than what I was envisioning in my head. And she mentioned that when she dies, she wanted them to get sent out to magazines or displayed at her funeral,” she said.
“But,” Julia added, “I just kind of thought, why wait until she’s dead?”
In January 2021, Julia posted a video displaying some of her grandma’s sketches on TikTok, and it became her first post on the platform to go viral, receiving 2.7 million views.
Julia said she had very little sewing experience at the time, but decided to make the sketches into real gowns as a way of “bringing them to life,” watching YouTube tutorials to teaching herself basic sewing skills.
Using mostly old scraps of material left over from her grandmother’s own collection of vintage fabrics, Julia has now made four of her grandmother’s designs, trying to stick to a budget of under $300 per gown. Videos of her revealing the finished products to Georgie keep going viral, often receiving hundreds of thousands of views per video.
“That is absolutely stunning. And I thank you because that’s just lovely and it feels so nice to see something that I drew so many, many years ago,” Georgie could be heard saying in a recent dress reveal video that has 1.8 million views on Julia’s TikTok account.
Julia thinks viewers have been captivated by her story of intergenerational bonding
Julia told Insider she thinks her TikTok series has got so much attention from viewers because of the strong relationship between her and her grandmother, which viewers have loved watching play out on camera.
“It’s a beautiful bonding experience between us that has made grandma happy,” she said.
“Lots of people who are older and watch my videos say they love seeing someone younger appreciate something from their generation,” she said, adding, “And then younger people see it and they maybe don’t have the best relationship with their grandparents, or maybe they lost their grandparents, and they say seeing my videos reminds them of their grandparents.”
A key takeaway that Julia said she hopes people have from watching her series is that “the older generation is so similar to us in many ways. They all had dreams and hopes that weren’t all that different from ours.”
According to Julia, her grandmother Georgie has enjoyed learning that many people on TikTok have now seen her designs, adding that she sometimes prints positive comments out for her to read, since Georgie is not the most adept at using social media herself.
As someone who has grown up “idolizing” her grandmother, Julia said she feels delighted that people on the internet have fallen in love with Georgie’s story and designs.
“I love anyone who shows appreciation for someone that I love. So being able to share that appreciation for my grandma with other people is amazing. I love that feeling,” she said.
For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.
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