Hot Topic’s stunning new ‘Doctor Who’ collection goes way beyond the T-shirt

Whovians have themselves to thank for influencing the creation of this timey wimey collection.

Feb 29, 2020, 3:05 pm*

Internet Culture

Lisa Granshaw 

Lisa Granshaw

Classic science fiction series Doctor Who has inspired a lot of fashion during its more than 50 year run, but a new limited-edition collection released by Hot Topic Friday takes the Doctor and his TARDIS to a whole new stylish dimension.

The nine-piece line offers a unique and more elegant take on iconic elements of the show than seen before in the Doctor Who apparel offered by the geek fashion company. From an exploding TARDIS lined navy coat with embroidered gears to a TARDIS lace-up dress with a ribbed bodice, these are items fangirls can wear to work or out with friends. The collection even includes unique designs like an Eleventh Doctor capelet while also highlighting some tops already available at the store.

Hot Topic’s senior vice president of merchandising and marketing Cindy Levitt told the Daily Dot that the collection came about after years of Doctor Who being one of the store’s biggest properties and from seeing fans take the initiative to create their own homemade dresses.

“We approached BBC and were like, ‘What if we do a really elevated couture line based on it?’ We see the customers, the fans at all the cons and they’re making their own, but not everybody can make their own beautiful dress. So…we gave them ideas and showed them how we really wanted to elevate it by doing the real detailed buttons and the linings and they let us proceed in design so they approved,” Levitt said.

They began putting the line together in March, with the Hot Topic team designing the line and the BBC making sure every detail was authentic to the series. 

TARDIS Lined Coat: $89.50 at all Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

TARDIS Lined Coat: $89.50 at all Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Hot Topic

Hot Topic

With 50 years of material to work with, it could seem difficult to know where to start to look for inspiration. However with Whovians on staff and Doctor Who merchandise already selling in Hot Topic stores, they knew what elements were fan favorites and focused on those.

“We know the van Gogh looking TARDIS print that is the lining of the coat always sells. We know that the gears sell. We know that the TARDIS is always our best seller no matter what we do with the TARDIS. We know that our fans love the fourth, tenth, and eleventh doctors by far the best,” Levitt said. “So we view it in a what we know works [way] and we took iconic elements from like the fourth doctor—the cardigan is taken from his scarf—and we try to interpret it, because this is an inspired-by fashion line. So we looked at the different doctors and were like, ‘How can we interpret this into fashion?’ We also see a lot of the fans hand-making their own outfits, but really it was how do you take the fan-favorite icons and Doctors and interpret it into wearable fashion.”

For this wearable fashion they avoided making anything too costumey and instead focused on making items for everyday or evening attire.

“It has to be something that is part of a girl’s wardrobe and not just like a one-time costume,” Levitt said.

Fourth Doctor Striped Cardigan: $48.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Fourth Doctor Striped Cardigan: $48.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Hot Topic

Eleventh Doctor Capelet: $54.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Eleventh Doctor Capelet: $54.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Hot Topic

Hot Topic was not just influenced by what elements fans loved from the show for this collection. The company also listened to fans who want increased sizes, something Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein was excited to discuss in an interview with the Daily Dot in November regarding the new Star Wars by Her Universe line currently available at Hot Topic. This Doctor Who collection will be available in sizes XS to 2X in Hot Topic stores and from XS to 3X on the company’s website. It will also be offered in true plus sizes from zero to five for tops and 12 to 28 for dresses online. The collection will be available Friday online at Torrid as well. Levitt said Hot Topic has a great partnership with its sister division, Torrid. It was seeing how Torrid does in plus sizes as well as hearing from plus size fangirls and seeing how fast plus size sells out that contributed to the company wanting to offer the collection in all sizes so every girl could wear it.

The line continues the trend of Hot Topic releasing more stylish “inspired by” collections. Doctor Who joins the ranks of Star Wars, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and American Horror Story who have also received such an interpretation in fashion over the last few months. According to Levitt, it’s part of them trying to take licensed properties beyond just T-shirts which are offered by many retailers these days. These types of collections are another area where Hot Topic was influenced by noticing fans and customers making their own outfits inspired by properties at conventions.

“I feel like it is our way to one, give the fangirls something they can’t find anywhere and two, for us to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace by doing these beautiful elevated collections because it’s getting really crowded with T-shirts and lanyards and backpacks out there in the licensed world, and I think part of our magic here at Hot Topic is so many of our employees, whether they’re in the stores or our design team and buyers, are the fans. So they’re dying to wear this stuff themselves,” Levitt said. “Everyone’s trying to make their TARDIS dress and maybe can’t make the best one but when you put the professionals of our product development department on it and design team it becomes an amazing piece.”

The added effort in such collections does mean an increase in price, however.

“When you really put a lot of detail on it the price does get pushed up a little bit, but the value is there because there’s nowhere else you’re going to find the beautiful gear buttons and the lining that we put in this or the corseting on the back of the jacket or the front of the TARDIS skirt and the call box kind of belting on the back of the jacket. It’s just an elevated way to enjoy your fandom without just putting on a T-shirt. Also as our customer ages up, they don’t all want T-shirts to wear. This fashion product is also for our customer that is a little bit older and just wants something more than a T-shirt,” she said.

Prices in the Doctor Who collection range from $44.50 to $89.50, which may not be as affordable for some as those T-shirts. Still, like its predecessor collections, it does offer a unique way to express your love for the series fashionably and Whovians can expect more items to be released in this same vein in the future.

“There are so many story lines and stuff that we can take a spin on, but we wanted to go with the classic ones first and where we know that the fans already reacted to [it]. But that’s the beauty of Doctor Who, 50 years of things to work with and who knows? Maybe next we’ll do something for River Song or some of the other characters, so there’s a lot to work with here,” Levitt said.

The collection, except the Regeneration dress which will be released soon, is available at Hot Topic and Torrid on Friday. You can see the rest of the line below!

Regeneration Dress (coming soon): $64.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Regeneration Dress (coming soon): $64.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Hot Topic

Fair Isle Knit Cardigan: $49.50 at all Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Fair Isle Knit Cardigan: $49.50 at all Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Hot Topic

TARDIS Lace-Up Dress: $79.50 at all Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

TARDIS Lace-Up Dress: $79.50 at all Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Hot Topic

Galaxy TARDIS Dress: $49.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Galaxy TARDIS Dress: $49.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Hot Topic

Eleventh Doctor Bow Tie Dress: $64.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Eleventh Doctor Bow Tie Dress: $64.50 at select Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Hot Topic

TARDIS Knit Pullover: $44.50 at all Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

TARDIS Knit Pullover: $44.50 at all Hot Topic stores and HotTopic.com

Hot Topic

Photo via Hot Topic

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*First Published: Dec 4, 2015, 1:40 pm