If you're not particularly aware of the science fiction world, it may never cross your mind that there had been an overwhelming need for fashion-forward fan girl gear. But one brief chat with Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars: The Clone Wars actress and designer of Her Universe) later, and you now not only harbor the knowledge that close to half of all sci-fi fans are women, but you're rambling maniacally to everyone who will listen that fan girl clothing for elementary school girls could somehow put an end to the bullying epidemic. Here's what Ashley had to say about her clothes, sc-fi, and equal opportunity geekdom.
On fan girl fashion and the color pink:
"As fan girls, we were usually an afterthought. They would make twenty shirts for guys, and one shirt for girls. And they would make it the color pink, and it would say, 'I "heart" Bad Boys,' and it would have a picture of a Darth Vader mask. I specifically said, in the beginning -- and I love the color pink -- we are not going to make a single item in our first roll-out in the color pink. As fan girls, we've had enough pink to last us a lifetime. We want some of the same designs that the guys have; we want them in black, and we want them in grey, we just want them in a women's cut."
On what sets Her Universe apart from their competitors:
"What really sets our company apart is that I'm a fan, a lot of our designers are fans, and we know what the fans want. To us, fan girls are not an afterthought, they are a fan base that's been under-served, and we put a lot of care and a lot of thought into what fan girls have always wanted. There are a couple of other items out there, but when we launched my company, there really wasn't much. There was a t-shirt here and there, but most of it was sold out or on back order. Fan girl fashion was really few and far between. The business has grown a little bit, but I'm pleased to say we helped kick-start the conversation. What sets us apart is that we try to apply more of a fashion twist."
On equal opportunity design:
"It's been really important to me to try and cover a wide range of sizes. The thing about our brand is, as a new company, sometimes we've tried to conquer too much. But, I'm going to continue to try and conquer too much, because we're one of the only brands that caters to all women. I don't even feel that we've succeeded 100 percent at this...you cant quite make everyone happy, I've learned. But, I'm going to try and continue to shoot for the stars, in that aspect, because there's nobody else that's really trying to cater to all ages and all sizes in this fan base."
On science fiction and fantasy:
"Science Fiction and Fantasy is for everyone. It transcends gender. Its universal. I am actually a really big science fiction and fantasy fan myself. I've always loved franchises like Star Wars, and Star Trek and Doctor Who and I wanted more merchandise made for women because its a fact that close to half of all Sci-fi fans are women. Before I started my company, Her Universe, I did a search online, and in stores, because I honestly thought that more merchandise existed--and quickly found out that it didn't. Now, girls have other options besides a men's boxy t-shirt."
On her favorite pieces:
"My favorite pieces from the line, currently, are our dresses. We have tank dresses, A-line dresses, and we're debuting two new dresses at San Diego Comic Con. As fan girls, yes we want to wear t-shirts because they're somethig we can easily throw on every day, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to dress it up a little bit more. I love being able to take a classic character like Darth Vader or R2D2 and design it in a more subtle way and put it on a dress to create a design that you can wear everyday--its not just a costume."
On her support:
I'm really proud of our partnerships, with Hot Topic, for example. Or thinkgeek.com. Those partnerships have allowed us to take our company in more of a fashion direction. Especially with Hot Topic: I've had the chance to develop things with them from scratch, like dresses and leggings, and skirts and pajamas. We've branched out beyond the t-shirts...it's really, really exciting.