Interview with Her Universe Fashion Show Creator Ashley Eckstein

Not too long ago it was difficult to find geeky clothes for women. You’d go into a store and the designs were too boxy and large, clearly meant for men. Now things are different. You can go into a store and find a pink shirt with sparkles that has the Captain America shield on it. Or you can find a BB-8 dress to go with those cute pumps you’ve been dying to try on.

Time’s have changed!

Ashley Eckstein, creator of Her Universe, has had a hand in making your BB-8 dreams come true. Her need to see geeky designs available for women stemmed from selfish reasons at first. She’s been a geek since childhood and wanted to continue that into adulthood. But despite knowing how many sci fi fans were female and how many amazing designs she saw at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), she didn’t have many options.

That’s when she decided to step forward and do it herself in the form of Her Universe. This mecca for geek clothes for women has become a well known place to get dresses, skirts, shirts, and even scarves that show your love for all things Star Wars, Avengers, or Marvel.

Her Universe Star Wars

The Her Universe Fashion Show came not long after.

Ashley noticed that at every SDCC she went too, female fans were using the floor as their personal runway for their “own original geek fashion.” It wasn’t just cosplay. It was original, twisted, and creative interpretations of characters they loved.

“So I went to Comic Con, four years ago now, and said, ‘Look, almost half of your attendees are women. So let’s do something to celebrate the fangirls at Comic Con. And here’s what I think we should do. Fangirls are already showing up in their original designs and using the halls as their own runways. Let’s give them an actual runway to walk on!’”

Comic-Con was more than happy to support her vision and helped her create the Her Universe Fashion Show.

Her Universe Fashion Show
Pictured: Ashley Eckstein wearing geek couture gowns designed and made by 2014 winner and designer, Andrew MacLaine.

Ashley effectively constructed a space where artists can transform their anime, comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy themed pieces into geek couture meant for the likes of a New York fashion runway show! It’s also important to note that this is a competition. The strongest designs will win apparel lines at Hot Topic stores across the nation and get paid for the extraordinary work they do. It’s a true professional experience that not only benefits winners but also the other contestants, who’ve used Her Universe as a stepping stone to bigger things.

For their third year they’re changing things up a bit.

Her Universe Fashion Show will be the first original reality series streaming through Comic-Con HQ and produced by Her Universe, Blondie Girl Productions, and Comic-Con HQ. This new series follows contestants of the Her Universe Fashion Show as they take their “geek couture” from paper to the runway. Viewers will get to see their favorite designers grow, learn, and bond through this journey, with the actual fashion show happening at the end of the season at SDCC.

For the 2016 fashion show, Ashley feels like the designers have raised the bar in a big way. They had 245 designer submissions and ended up picking 27. Initially they were going to pick 25 contestants but Ashley couldn’t decide! So she pulled out her trump card and said, “Sorry we’re doing 27.”

The biggest tease Ashley was willing to give us for this season of Her Universe is wearable technology. You will see dresses light up on this runway. And you will see science and math play a big role into what the contestants are creating. Think Claire Danes Met Gala gown meets Star Wars royalty.

Her Universe 2015 Winners
Her Universe Fashion Show 2015 Winners. Kelsey Edwards Photography – #kelseyedwardsphoto

“I want to see these designers succeed. I want to give them opportunities. I want to give them a platform. And I want to see them take full advantage of that opportunity to spread their wings and fly. I don’t mean to sound cliche or cheesy but it’s true.”

At the end of the day, this fashion show and it’s reality series is an educational and life changing opportunity for its contestants. It brings fans together to form a community of like minded people who aren’t afraid to celebrate being geeks or proving to others that this is a genre for everybody.

The Her Universe Fashion Show is available on Comic-Con HQ and Amazon now! And don’t forget to join Her Universe for the filming of the season finale Thursday, July 21st at 6 p.m. at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel during SDCC.

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