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The 2015 Her Universe Fashion Show

The DJ plays and the lights dim, all around me the buzz of excitement can be heard. Everyone’s ready for the Her Universe Fashion Show to begin. This is the second year the fashion show is coming to San Diego Comic-Con, and it’s quickly becoming a staple of the convention. We are welcomed by a video from the night’s host and creator of Her Universe, Ashley Eckstein. In this video she explains the inspiration behind Her Universe, and how amazing it is to have this female oriented celebration of “geek couture” at San Diego Comic-Con. For years, girls have been told that we don’t belong in the geek world, and to be happy with the clothing that’s available to men. Her Universe knew that there were fangirls out there waiting for their geek fashion dreams to come true.

“Nothing epitomizes the transition of girl geek culture into the limelight quite like the rise of Her Universe.” – TIME

The fashion show begins, and we’re treated to a look at the current Her Universe line. It’s a bold reminder of how far girls have come in the geek industry to see how many fandoms are catering to us now. It’s also refreshing to see plus size models on the stage. Her Universe always creates fashions with every consumer in mind, and it’s beautiful to see the plus size girl represented in the spotlight. As the fashions make their way down the runway, I can see every girl making a mental note of which pieces they still need to own.

Ashley Eckstein appears in her first geek couture look of the night designed by last year’s audience winner, Andrew MacLaine. The first look is inspired by Star Wars and Princess Leia. It’s a gorgeous gown, complete with a sparkly, flowy cape. Throughout the night two other geek couture looks were premiered, each one more incredible than the next. Her second look is inspired by Black Widow, and is ready to kick ass and demand the respect of everybody in its presence. The third and final look is inspired by Haku the river dragon from Spirited Away. From every angle this gown is breathtaking; it was made in honor of Ashley’s reveal of the night that Her Universe’s next line will feature Studio Ghibli. The president of Studio Ghibli was actually in the audience, and received a standing ovation when he was introduced.

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The new Her Universe line has designs featuring Kiki’s Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro as well as Spirited Away. The styles range from cute fashion dresses to simple racer-back tank tops. There was a lot of excitement heard when the new cardigans were spotlighted. All pieces were featured in plus sizes with plus size models. Being able to see models of varying shapes and sizes on the runway, really gave you a better sense of what the clothing would look like when worn by you, and that made getting to view the premiere of the new line that much more exciting!

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The 25 finalists displayed their designs down the runway. Immediately the audience is blown away by the first design “Cutie Makes Her Mark – My Little Pony’ by Jessica Gonzalez. This gown features a pink cotton candy train that can be turned inside out to display a striped blue and pink pattern or the train can completely come off and the gown transforms into a party dress! All 25 designs were so creative and beautiful. Finalist Jennifer Newman created a “Unicorn In The Waves” look inspired by The Last Unicorn (one of my favorite movies), and I never knew that so much emotion could be captured in a piece of clothing, but just by looking at this gown you could see the elegance and freedom experienced by the unicorn when she returned to the ocean. “Party Like A Monster – Monster High” by Lauren Andrews reminded us that being girly and playing with dolls is geeky too. Kristin Koga gave us “The Greek Couture Burger (comes with tzatziki sauce) – Bob’s Burgers” showing us that high fashion doesn’t have to be a gown. Her design was cool and screamed hipster artist living in New York city. Harmony Leiker’s “Cocktails At The End of The Line – Tron” literally lit up the runway with her illuminated fabric. Adria Sanchez-Chaidez made the audience gasp with “It’s Bigger On The Inside – Doctor Who”. Her design featured a coat made to look like the TARDIS from Doctor Who, when the coat was taken off a beautiful dress was revealed that was inspired by the inside of the TARDIS. Tara Reich’s “That’s No Moon – Star Wars” look featured a high fashion skirt inspired by and made to look like the Death Star. Sam Skyler had an adorable design that featured a coat inspired by armored Baymax and revealed a white bubble dress underneath to complete the Baymax look. Finalist Laura Ortiz had a Jack Skellington inspired gown complete with a light up Zero. Oseas Villatoro stunned the audience with “Poison Ivy Green Love – Batman”, his gown featured a flowing green train reminiscent of growing ivy and the hairstyle on the model was fit for the grand prize at a hair show. Jesse Thaxton’s gown isnpired by Alien’s was rightly named “Alien Queen”; I’m positive the dress could’ve stood up on it’s own, and in the right light frighten anyone who looked upon it. Each of the designs featured on the runway left such an incredible impression, they’ll not easily be forgotten. I know these designers are inspiring a new generation of geek fashion as we speak. All of the 25 finalists beat out thousands of entries, and that in itself is an amazing feat, they’re all truly winners.

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That being said this was a competition and only two can be chosen. The winner chosen by the judges was “Joker’s New Look – Batman” by Kelly Cercone. Her design was a 50’s inspired Joker themed look that Grace Kelly could’ve worn. The colors were undoubtedly Joker, but the pallete was done in a way that wasn’t jarring, and accessible to all audiences. I feel that this played a huge factor into why she was chosen. The audience chosen winner was “Usagi’s Transformation – Sailor Moon” by Leetal Platt. Her design began as cute dress inspired by Sailor Moon’s school uniform and then it gorgeously transformed into Sailor Moon’s transformation sequence. Pink satin billowed all around the gown and it was a magnificent sight to behold, especially when modeled by the beautiful Chloe Dykstra.

 

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I know we’re all saving our money in anticipation of the exclusive Hot Topic fashion line the winners get to design.

The night ended with Her Universe inviting fashionable audience members up on the stage to strut their stuff. Ashley Eckstein then revealed the most exciting news of the night: San Diego Comic-Con is teaming up with Lionsgate for their new video on demand subscription channel, and this year’s Her Universe Fashion Show is going to be the first original series made by the channel. Viewers will get to see all of the behind the scenes action leading up to the Fashion Show! We’ll all definitely be keeping a look out for that. This year’s fashion show was filled with such creativity, I don’t know how next year can top it, but I can’t wait to see.

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Sneak Peek at The Geek Couture Hitting The Runway at SDCC Her Universe Fashion Show!

The second annual Her Universe fashion show, brainchild of actress and Her Universe Founder Ashley Eckstein is ready to invade San Diego Comic-Con with one of a kind geek couture! Hosting the event for the second time in a row, Ashley Eckstein is no stranger to geek culture. She is the voice actor of Ahsoka Tano on the hit TV series Star Wars Rebels and Clone Wars and has developed a fandom in her own right. She created the event to spotlight fangirl culture and the geeky fashions that this culture has inspired.
Last year the Her Universe fashion show debuted to a packed house and rave reviews. Highlighting the need for the “geek industry” to recognize its female fanbase. Fangirls are just as diehard as their male counterparts and in this #selfie obsessed world we live in now, girls aren’t afraid to proudly express their girly side through their fandoms! I’m happy to see that San Diego Comic-Con is filling these needs by making the fashion show an annual event and I can’t wait to see what other events this inspires.

Ashley Eckstein, on stage at last year's fashion show in her Studio Ghibli Totoro couture gown.
Ashley Eckstein, on stage at last year’s fashion show in her Studio Ghibli Totoro couture gown.

“We are so excited to return to San Diego Comic-Con with The Her Universe Fashion Show. Geek Fashion is a trend that’s not going away and once again we can’t wait to celebrate Fangirl Fashion on the runway. You will not want to miss the stunning pieces created by this year’s designers and the audience will participate by picking one of the winners!” – Ashley Eckstein, Founder, Her Universe

This year will feature 25 designers displaying their one of a kind “geek couture” fashions on the runway, they’ll be competing for the opportunity to design a limited edition fandom collection with Her Universe for Hot Topic. “Last year’s winners Andrew and Amy Beth blew us away with the amazing Marvel collection they designed for us,” said Cindy Levitt, SVP of Merchandising and Marketing at Hot Topic. “It truly hit home with the fangirl, as well as our fashion customer and was a fantastic success! We can’t wait to do it again this year!” The exclusive Marvel’s Avengers collection sold out in record numbers when it premiered in May of 2015. Hot Topic has ordered more since then and their collection can still be found in select Hot Topic stores.

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Last years winners Amy Beth Christenson and Andrew MacLaine along with Hot Topic’s SVP of Merchandising and Marketing, Cindy Levitt; singer/songwriter, voice actress and designer, Traci Hines; Manager of Licensing and Merchandising at Sony Pictures Television, Jessica Nubel will be on the panel of judges for this year’s fashion show. The 25 finalists competing in this year’s fashion show are: Lauren Andrews, Ericka Angiuli, Kelly Cercone, Laura Desch, Daisy Evans, Jessica Gonzalez, Lindsay Hamilton, Kathryn Henzler, Sarah Henzler, Hannah Kent, Kristin Koga, Harmony Leiker, Belinda Mendoza, Jennifer Newman, Emily Ong, Laura Cristina Ortiz, Leetal Platt, Tara Reich, Adria Sanchez-Chaidez, Amy Scott, Kristi Siedow-Thompson, Sam Skyler, Jesse Thaxton, Oseas Villatoro, and Erica Williams. There will be two winners, one that the judges chose and one chosen by the audience!

Sneak Peek at Ashley Eckstein's on-stage geek couture gowns for The Her Universe Fashion Show designed by last year's Audience Winner, Andrew MacLaine.
Sneak Peek at Ashley Eckstein’s on-stage geek couture gowns for The Her Universe Fashion Show designed by last year’s Audience Winner, Andrew MacLaine.

The second annual Her Universe Fashion Show will take place on Thursday, July 9th at 6pm at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego during San Diego Comic-Con. The event is joined this year by actress Ashley Tisdale’s company, Blondie Girl Productions as a production partner. Jennifer Tisdale and Heath Hyche will be providing live commentary on the event along with backstage coverage. Also, make sure to check out the beautiful hair and make-up on the runway by the geeky cosmetics company Espionage Cosmetics as they return for the second year. Ashley Eckstein, Hot Topic and the Her Universe team will also be giving out prizes to attendees wearing the best geek inspired fashions, so come dressed to impress! Geek fashion is definitely the wave of the future and I can’t wait to be inspired by this year’s designs.
Which fandoms would you love to see made into geek couture? Let us know in the comments.

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