We're happy to have actress and designer Ashley Eckstein back to talk with us after the launch of the Her Universe line! This time, a couple of lucky fans got a chance to ask Ashley some questions!
MandyB: Ashley, it’s so good to speak with you again! Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on a successful launch of the Her Universe online shop!
Ashley Eckstein: Thank you so much Mandy! The fan support has been incredible. This is a line for the fans, so I just hope they like it and are patient with us as we continue to grow.
MB: I’m so excited about the selections available! (I’ve already bought two shirts for myself.) How did you decide what to include in the first collection?
AE: Wow! Thank you so much for your purchases! The Lucasfilm style guide is enormous and a bit overwhelming, so I didn’t really know where to start when it came to picking the designs. So, I decided to choose designs that were inspired by different people or stories. Lucasfilm also allowed us to use guest designers like Dave Filoni, Katie Cook and Cat Staggs. Every piece from our collection has a story behind it.
MB: The collection will be debuting at the San Diego Comic Con in July. Are there any special events planned that you can discuss with us?
AE: Yes, we are having a panel at Comic Con called “Her Universe: Shining the Spotlight on Female Fans” on Saturday night from 6:30-7:30 PM in room 24ABC. We are going to discuss the past, present and future of science fiction through female eyes. We are going to have a panel of accomplished and well-respected women who work in the science fiction field. I hope all of the fangirls attending Comic-Con will come out to listen and ask questions. To me, Her Universe is more than just a merchandise line; it is a community for female sci-fi fans. I hope to do more things like this.
MB: I know several gals that are excited for the Star Wars fashion show at Celebration V as reported on StarWars.com! What can we expect to see at the show?
AE: There will be two fashion shows, one for kids and one for adults, and it will feature pieces from many different Lucasfilm licensees. It will celebrate all of the current fashions for men and women that Lucasfilm has to offer. I will be hosting the shows on the convention floor. Make sure you stop by the check it out!
MB: With the online shop launched, and the convention appearances scheduled for this summer, what’s the next step for Her Universe?
AE: The next step for Her Universe is to continue designing and producing more Star Wars merchandise. As I have said before, we are currently offering our apparel in XS- XXL. I am definitely planning on expanding our line to include plus sizes. I am just trying to find the right garments. I will let the fans know when those sizes are available. I also hope to offer some kids sizes soon too. I am going to continue to design non-apparel items, as well. I would love to offer a bag or purse next year and more jewelry. The goal is to make fangirls head to toe “geek chic.” We are also seeking out other licenses for other sci-fi franchises. We have some exciting possibilities!
MB: I see a “coming soon” sign under the jewelry link on the Her Universe online shop. What can we look forward to seeing there in the future?
AE: Right now we are coming out with two necklaces. Both of them are pendant necklaces. One is to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back and the other necklace is the Rebel Alliance symbol. I will definitely continue to design jewelry pieces using the different symbols.
MB: The fan response since the line was launched has been overwhelmingly positive. What is your reaction to response?
AE: It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. This line has been over two years in the making and there were definitely moments where I thought this line was never going to happen. I just ask everyone for their support because we still have a lot to prove. This is honestly just the beginning.
MB: I offered the opportunity to ask you some questions to a couple of excited geek gals! Nicole Marie asks: Would the Her Universe line consider selling Expanded Universe inspired merchandise in the future? Nicole Marie was also curious about other designers in the future. We know that Katie Cook and Cat Staggs are already involved, what other artists can we look forward to seeing in future collections?
AE: Great question, Nicole. We will definitely consider making Expanded Universe inspired products in the future. However, there are so many amazing saga characters and designs that we will probably use first. We definitely plan on using other guest designers for the line. Nothing new to report just yet but I will keep you posted.
MB: Another fangirl, Taylor, asks, “Will Her Universe design clothing for other nerdy fandoms in addition to Star Wars?
AE: Hi Taylor! Yes, we are currently talking to other companies and exploring other franchises as we speak. We’ll keep you posted.
MB: Jessica wants to know; “Were you aware of the huge impact a clothing line designed for women, by women would have on the female geek community?
AE: Thank you for the kind words Jessica but no, I really didn’t. However, once I met all of the amazing fans, I knew that someone had to step up and be their voice. I cannot stress enough, though, that I cannot do this by myself. We are power in numbers and we still have to prove that there are enough girls who will buy this type of merchandise.
MB: Anika asks, “My five year old daughter has been introduced to Star Wars specifically thru Ahsoka and Artooey, what’s it feel like to have that impact in a fandom and be able to engage her as a fangirl in way with the line and with being a main character that I was overlooked when I was a child new to Star Wars? Anika also goes on to say, “Thank you for having a Vader/Leia t-shirt! It seems obvious, but it’s a barely recognized relationship. Is it stuff like this that was the impetus for the line?
AE: Great questions, Anika. For me personally, nothing warms my heart more than being able to make a positive difference in a kids’ life. I wish I had a character like Ahsoka to look up to when I was a little girl. She is definitely inspiring. Over the past two seasons, I have watched more and more little girls become Star Wars fans because of Ahsoka and I am honored to play a small part in that. As for the Vader/Leia shirt, we always hear the line “Luke, I am your Father,” but what about the fact that Leia is Daddy’s Little Girl? I will definitely continue to explore relationships and characters that sometimes get overlooked. Just like the special relationship between Plo Koon and Ahsoka.
MB: Ashley, we wish you great success on your summer convention appearances and we hope to hear back from you as soon as the next collection is released!
AE: Thank you so much for your time, Mandy! I really appreciate your support!
MB: And that's a wrap folks. If you haven't already checked out the online store for Her Universe you can do so here. For the latest updates, you can check out Her Universe on Twitter and Facebook.