A lifelong fan of Scooby-Doo cartoons, College of DuPage Fashion Studies student Gina Gianni brought a childhood dream to life four years ago when she turned her Jeep Renegade into a tribute to one of America’s favorite animated cartoon classics. Watch a video of the mystery machine in action at the COD Food Truck Rally and Sunset 5K.
After visiting a car show with her mom and seeing a custom Mystery Machine on display, Gianni, of Villa Park, knew she wanted one of her own.
“When I saw the classic car, the nostalgia set in,” she said. “I loved ‘Scooby-Doo Where Are You’ as a kid and have followed the animated and live-action movies into adulthood.”
Gianni sketched out a design and after several iterations, had the artwork printed on a vehicle wrap. The truck is finished in a light vibrant blue and lime green, accented with bright orange flowers and cartoon-inspired lettering.
Gianni has always had a passion for creativity. She graduated from North Central College in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in studio art. Wanting to expand her skillsets, she enrolled in the Fashion Studies program at COD last year to earn her Associates of Arts in fashion design in hopes of one day working as a costume designer.
“The COD Fashion Studies program is so hands-on and the skills I’m learning and contacts I’ve made will aid me in establishing myself as part of the fashion community,” she said.
With a love for costume design, Gianni created a custom Daphne costume and enlists friends to dress up as Shaggy, Fred and Velma. They make occasional appearances around town with the Mystery Machine in tow.
“My dad’s a comic book artist, so I’ve always had a love for artistic expression, which is why it has been enjoyable for me to experiment with different creative outlets. Dressing up as the Scooby characters is just another layer of fun.”
She suspects that nostalgic joy she felt for the Mystery Machine when she saw it at the car show is why people of all ages get excited when they see it in a parking lot or driving down the road.“People see me driving and lose themselves in that moment. They often give a thumbs up or snap a picture. Everyone has a connection to it,” she said. “More than anything else, it’s a break from the real world. It brings people joy in the midst of their ordinary day.”
Photo Caption: Gianni, dressed as Daphne, and the Mystery Machine were an attraction at the COD Food Truck Rally and Sunset 5K on Oct. 5. Gianni used the opportunity to talk to attendees about her love for costume design and creativity.