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This TikTok creator went viral after recreating her grandmother's fashion sketches

Grandmas are the hit on TikTok.

Last summer, TikTok user Lex Nicoleta sparked the coastal grandmother trend, and now creator Julia, who goes by @boringbb on the app, is taking it to the next level by turning her grandmother's '40s fashion sketches into reality.

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The Chicago resident, who has 468,000 followers, has repeatedly turned heads by taking her grandmother's sketches from her fashion school days and surprising her by creating and modeling the looks.

Some of them have gone viral, including one in which Julia wears white hot pants, a white short-sleeved top and a giant pale pink bow at the waist, which received 20.7 million views on TikTok and about 4 million on Instagram. “I guess, of course, if you want, you could call it a media attraction. But for me, it's almost cyclical. [laughs]”, said Julia. “But I never added up all the numbers. I have no idea.”

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Julia and her grandmother examine a new design.

Her other standout posts included a video of herself walking down a flight of stairs and wiping tears from her eyes while wearing a flowing pastel dress that her grandmother said she had to wear “to a spring ball.” The video received 4.6 million views.

Julia, who uses her first name online for privacy reasons and has a full-time job whose name she prefers not to share, has never attended fashion school and her sewing education before TikTok began and ended with economics class in sixth grade.

To recreate her grandmother's sketches, she has spent the last two years teaching herself to sew – first by hand, then by machine.

Her grandmother, who can be seen with her back to the camera in the videos, attended a now-closed fashion school, but dropped out and never worked in the fashion industry.

“A lot of it is not a perfect one-to-one replica of her sketches. I usually just pick one of her designs. I started with what seemed easiest to my untrained eye. That probably wasn't actually the easiest [laughs] “But it was what my brain found to be the simplest thing at the time,” Julia said.

Julia noted that her grandmother has started drawing again, a skill she learned as a teenager. She has recreated more than 10 sketches, some that took two months to complete, partly due to other commitments in her life. Others were done in just two days. “It really depends on how much time I can dedicate to the project and how fast I work that day,” she said.

As much as the 27-year-old would love to collaborate, several talks about potential projects have gone nowhere. So far, most of the inquiries have come from private individuals looking for custom-made wedding dresses and other designs. Although she feels “very flattered” by the offers, for now she prefers to “make her little videos for the internet,” she said.

Typically inspired by one of her grandmother's 50 existing sketches, she upcycles or designs something from a vintage find, often using repurposed materials.

When she started posting the sketch-inspired posts on TikTok, they “instantly” took off, she said. The first one reached 3 million views in 24 hours — in 2021, before she could even sew.

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One of her grandmother's sketches and the final work.

If someone or a company approaches her about a collaboration or an in-house design job, the social media star says she would be very open to such offers. “The numbers would just have to make sense for your company and my business. So far, it just hasn't worked out. I'm always open to any opportunity. I love hearing from people.”

Followers can find some tutorials on her TikTok explaining how she handles the process – saving fabric and reusing certain parts of a dress or garment.

Last week, Julia reinterpreted Kendall Jenner's Met Gala look using finds from her closet – she upcycled a pair of pants, a sequin skirt, a sequin dress, and added gloves and an oversized white collar, all of which were vintage and belonged to her grandmother. Jenner's sequined creation, sans pants, was by Marc Jacobs, in keeping with the event's dress code “in honor of Karl.”

Julia explained her interpretation on TikTok: “I didn’t even try [sky-high platform] Boots, because that would have been a huge effort. Overall, I think what I cobbled together in one day turned out pretty cute. Someone on Instagram said I looked like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and now I'm stuck for something else. But I could definitely wear this with a skirt, like Grandma prefers.”

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