NYCC 2011: Ashley Eckstein Part 1 – Her Universe

At SDCC back in July, Open the Fridge had the pleasure of speaking with actress Ashley Eckstein about Her Universe, her rapidly-expanding female sci-fi clothing and merchandising company. With the continued surge of proud fangirls stepping into the limelight (and buying Her Universe gear!), we decided to catch up with her again at NYCC to check in on her successful endeavor.

As always, check out Her Universe for the latest in fangirl fashion!  And keep an eye out, Ashley tells us that there are more licenses on the way, and, while we promised we wouldn’t spill the beans, she told us one that was particularly exciting.  For more updates, follow Ashley on Twitter.

Thanks again, Ashley, for chatting with us! Always a delight!

Open the Fridge: Do you have a favorite piece from the Her Universe collection?

Ashley Eckstein: That’s always a tough one for me – I’m not a mother, but it’s like asking a mom to pick between her kids!  So much love and thought went into to each of these designs.  I’d have to say that our Swarovski crystal hats – there’s a special story behind them.  That was actually the first item I ever did, even before I founder Her Universe.  I wanted a Star Wars hat and I literally could not find a single Star Wars hat made for girls; they were all guys’ hats.  It was football season, and since my husband loves football we spend all day on Saturday and Sunday doing nothing but watching football games.  So, while he was watching football, I bought several guys’ Star Wars hats and bedazzled them myself with crystals and gave them to people in our [Clone Wars] cast.  So I brought those over to the line.  Technically, that’s our very first item we ever did. 

OTF: Do you work with a design team or do you design everything yourself?  What is the process?

AE: Unfortunately I’m not an artist.  I wish I was.  You do not want a shirt with any of my art on it!  However, I have a business partner and they have on-staff designers.  We also work with guest designers, and what I do is I come up with the concepts.  For example, this red spine t-shirt that I’m wearing from Battlestar Galactica.  My husband and I are huge Battlestar fans and there was just something about the red spine that I thought was visually striking, and I really wanted to recreate it on a t-shirt.  So, I worked with our designers and told them how I wanted it to lay out with the red foil and with the Cylon on the front.  So I work hand-in-hand with the designers.

OTF: When you are picking out a design, do you go in after they draw up a few concepts and choose which you like best? 

AE: We’ll definitely draw up concepts if the art doesn’t exist, or, what is really nice about Star Wars, they have the most amazing style guide, which is just full of thousands of images that I can choose from.  For example, our Boba Fett underwear set – those are with images straight from the style guide.  I came up with the concept, went to the style guide, found the images that I wanted, and then told our designers, “Ok, place it here, place it there, and so on.”  So, if it doesn’t involve creating new art, then I usually just go to the style guide and tell them where to place it.

OTF: What’s next for Her Universe?  Is there anything in the works?

AE: Well, I can’t say what it is yet, but we’re adding a new license very soon, and it’s a major one.  We’re also in talks with another license that’s another major one, so look for announcements soon in terms of expanding with new merchandise.  We also have new Star Wars and sci-fi merchandise coming out for the holidays.  We have a couple new Star Wars items.  We have a new charm for our charm bracelet.  Also, we have a new shirt by Cat Staggs. We did an adult version of our “Daddy’s Little Girl” shirt.  It has Darth Vader and Princess Leia on it and it says “Daddy Issues.”  We also have a Battlestar Galactica pajama set coming out, and a new Warehouse 13 shirt.  Those will all be available on our website on Cyber Monday.

OTF: We’re looking forward to it Ashley!  As fans of all the shows you’ve mentioned, we can’t wait to see the new creations from Her Universe!

Check back for part 2 of our conversation wih Ashley Eckstein, where we talk about Ahsoka Tano and Star Wars: The Clone Wars!

Written by: Amy Imhoff

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