When Georgie * decided to ditch design school in the 1940s and shelve her sketchpads, the teen thought her dream of seeing her couture fashions come to life was over.
That was until January 2021, when she uncovered her long-forgotten drawings during a COVID-19 clean-out and showed them to her granddaughter.
Julia * , now 27, was blown away by her grandmother’s hidden talent; she immediately knew the fancy gowns and one-of-a-kind designs had to be seen by a larger audience. Her grandmother suggested sending the sketches to a magazine or displaying them at her funeral, but Julia had other plans.
“I kind of thought, why wait?” Julia says. “I didn’t know how to contact a magazine, but I did know how to make a social media post. So that’s what I did. And it went viral.”
TikTokers went nuts over the vintage ball gowns; the positive feedback convinced Julia to go one step further. And, as she puts it, “I went for it.”
Julia studied YouTube tutorials and with a sewing machine purchased by her in-laws, taught herself to sew. After a year of building up her confidence — and skillset — she surprised Georgie with a recreation of one of her designs — and filmed her grandmother’s reaction to the big reveal.
“She was astounded! She was so happy… She really had no idea that I was going to come down the stairs in something that looked like her design,” Julia says.
Since then, Julia has replicated many outfits, and she and Georgie’s (who is filmed from the back to protect her privacy) work has gained a devoted following, with millions watching the reveals. The nonagenarian artist has even started sketching again.
“The main takeaway that Grandma and I both have from this experience is it’s never too late to go for something,” Julia says. “You’re never too old; you’re never too inexperienced to try something if you want it. And it has worked out for us both.”
For more on Julia and Georgie’s story, watch the video above.
*Last names withheld to protect subjects’ privacy