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Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Ashley Eckstein Explains The Importance Of Fandom Participation For Young Girls

ashley eckstein her universe ahsoka tano merch
(Image credit: Her Universe)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars actress Ashley Eckstein became a fan-favorite for her role as Ahsoka Tano going all the way back to the Clone Wars animated movie in 2008, so she has well over a decade of experience as part of an incredibly passionate fandom. In the years since Ahsoka's debut as Anakin Skywalker's Padawan, Eckstein founded Her Universe and hosts the Her Universe Fashion Show for San Diego Comic-Con. With designers ready to virtually show off the best in geek couture after having to take 2020 off, Eckstein spoke with CinemaBlend about the importance of the fashion show opening up fandom participation to women and girls.

The Her Universe Fashion Show of course features some Star Wars looks when it comes to geek couture, but the fashion definitely isn't limited to that galaxy far, far away. In past shows, fandoms ranging from Star Wars to Jurassic Park to She-Ra – not to mention of course Marvel and DC – and beyond have been represented. While the fashion show can certainly be enjoyed by everybody, fandom events with women at the forefront hasn't always been as widely available as it is today. When I asked Ashley Eckstein if the Her Universe Fashion Show opened up fandom participation to a demographic that hasn't always had large creative fandom outlets available, she shared:

Oh, yes, yes, definitely. I will say especially with girls, because fashion is something that actually isn't that accessible for young girls. You know, it's not like in many places, it's not like there's fashion school or fashion classes in terms of how to sew or construction or build patterns. And it's not something – I don't know, at least in my area. And I found with a lot of young girls that have come to us, I have a lot of parents saying, 'My daughter's interested in fashion, where can I take them?' So I think what the show has done is it's just exposed a generation to fashion at a younger age, where they're seeing people not that much older than them make these couture pieces, inspired by these properties that they love.

Cosplay has been a fun facet of fandom both for observers and the cosplayers themselves for a long time, but the geek couture of the Her Universe Fashion Show ups the ante in some exceptionally creative ways. And according to Ashley Eckstein, the looks can open up a world of fashion that young girls in particular might not have been exposed to or have access to. With fandom twists!

As somebody who was more obsessed than I care to admit with some of Princess Leia's looks in the original Star Wars trilogy as a young girl, I can definitely appreciate what seeing these fandom fashion endeavors could mean for kids today! Ashley Eckstein continued, explaining how fashion can be so much more accessible now than ever before:

And then now thanks to YouTube, where you can practically get a master's degree in fashion by watching different people's YouTube videos. You know, it's just made it accessible to girls especially, and women and girls and everyone of all ages. So, it is something I'm very proud of. This year we were not able to do the junior fashion designer competition, but [that's] something once we get back to in-person events. We've done two Junior Designer competitions. We've also done three different Junior Designer workshops. And it's truly one of my favorite things.

If the Ewoks could make Princess Leia a dress circa Return of the Jed, anybody interested in fashion with access to YouTube surely has a shot! (And that's no joke about the Ewoks – just check out Star Wars Forces of Destiny.) The designers who create the geek couture for the Her Universe Fashion Show are the best of the best, but that doesn't mean that anybody who is interested in fandom fashion shouldn't try their hand at it.

The virtual Her Universe Fashion Show, hosted by Ashley Eckstein and featuring fandom fashion from all corners of pop culture, kicked off on July 23 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. If you missed watching the initial broadcast, the video is still available on YouTube for fans to watch and decide which designer deserves the prize as Audience Winner. You can vote here now, and voting will be open until 11:59 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 25, with the Audience Winner announced on July 28.

As for Ashley Eckstein's Ahsoka Tano, you can find her throughout Star Wars animation steaming on Disney+ now! And don't forget to check out our 2021 summer TV premiere schedule for more viewing options outside the realm of geek couture.

Laura Hurley
Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.