I recently had the distinct pleasure of speaking to Ashley about the new Star Wars fashion line for girls and women, Her Universe.
MandyB: Ashley, tell me how all of this came about?
Ashley Eckstein: Iíve been trying to make this thing happen for three years. Initially, I scoured the internet for shirts or, well, anything for me, but I couldnít find anything. So then, I started doing a little more research and I found out that almost 50% of Star Wars fans are women, and it made no since that 80% of the consumer market and 50% of SW fans are female,. Why was there nothing for them to buy? Then I began reading all of the girlsí comments online, and I realized that girls have been begging for female SW merchandise for years. Iíve always had a passion for fashion. If I werenít an actress I definitely would have gone into fashionÖ I even designed my first dress when I was 10. So I thought, letís try and change this and give the girls what they want.
MB: You know, we as girls want to look good. Personally, I am tired of scouring the boysí department in stores to find SW shirts.
AE: Iím right there with you. You know, I think I probably own every little boyís shirt that Junkfood has put out. And theyíre great and they have a cute fit, but the problem is female bodies are not built like little boysí bodies. The problem I had, and I made sure to change this w the garments we had, the little boysí shirts were too short, they might have fit, but it didnít cover my stomach. (Ö) I made sure that the t-shirts that we chose are longer and will cover your whole midsection. In the first collection I made sure we had some longer, deep V neck shirts, just really comfortable, casual, and chic.
MB: Iíve had problems in the past w/ hoodies, for example like the Marc Ecko Fett and stormptrooper ones. By the time I got to the store, the only ones that were left were menís larges and XLís. So, I was left with a problem of how to display my geek heritage proudly and look good doing it.
AE: Well, we want to show off our assets, we donít want to hide them! (Ö) The thing that Iím really excited about with our lines is the fact that we have all sizes. And I want to stress that to the female fans, I clearly want to provide something for each type of girl, each body style of girl: different sizes, different colors, different characters. I really just want to provide something for each type of girl and for all ages.
MB: Well, itís almost easier to go by fan types, in regards to designing a collection. You have shirts for OT fans, PT fans, and even TCW fans.
AE: You actually nailed it on the head! One thing that LF was so excited about, when we first went to them to talk about the line, they wanted the line to be fan driven. They wanted it to look like wearable fan art, almost. Each shirt has a story about it. The other thing Iím really excited about is we have 2 shirts in the first line that we have Cat Staggs and Katie Cook designing.
MB: I really feel like this collection is for us and by us! This is a SW fan designing clothes for other fans.
AE: Well, it is! Thatís what I want it to be. I want to give the fans what they want. Like I said on my blog, I wasnít to be their voice, but I need the help from the fans; I need to know what they want.
MB: Itís always really nice to see a SW celebrity become a vocal fan and a vocal promoter. This line really shows your dedication to the franchise. And youíre really giving back.
AE: Thank you! And just so you know itís not going to be just clothes, there will even be accessories and even cosmetics.
MB: I notice there isnít any pink in this first collectionÖ
AE: Well, I will go on the record saying this: I love pink, but in this first collection there is no pink. And I purposefully said that from the very beginning.
MB: Letís talk about quality. I own several of the H&M SW articles, but unfortunately itís not quality clothing. How is Her Universe different?
AE: I went to the Araca Group in the very beginning and said that quality was my number one priority. It has to pass a high quality test. I would not put out anything I wouldnít wear myself.
MB: I love the fact that weíve seen the shirts on you. Fans will know how it looks on a female body, and can be an educated buyer.
AE: Once the online store launches, Iím actually going to include notes on there about how the shirt fits. Letting them know if it runs big or small. I WANT to give insider tips.
MB: Well, you are the perfect vehicle for this line. With the popularity of TCW reaching several demographics, you are able to market this to everyone.
AE: And that was the goal! Our demo for girls 9-14 has drastically increased this year. It seemed like younger girls were embarrassed to come out and say, ďHey Iím a SW fan, too.Ē Now because of TCW itís made it cool for these younger girls to come out and say they are fans.
MB: Well, on that note, weíll wrap up for todayÖ Tune in this Friday for the exciting conclusion of Ashleyís interview where we talk philosophy, fashion, and clone wars.