Ashley Eckstein On Designing Her Own Minnie Ears
As we shift gears from San Diego Comic Con to D23, Geek & Glitter caught up with Ashley Eckstein (founder of Her Universe, voice of Ahsoka Tano, actress) to talk about the Her Universe Fashion Show, mental health, and designing her own pair of Star Wars themed Minnie Ears.
On Her Many Dresses At The Her Universe Fashion Show
By now, you have all seen photos and videos from the fashion show. Ashley opens the show with a transformational She-Ra dress, and later changes into an elegant sequins Batman dress, a Haunted Mansion inspired jumpsuit, and a custom designed dressed inspired by the “On Our Sleeves” movement.
All the dresses looked so beautiful and unique, I had to know if she had a favorite one to wear. While Ashley couldn’t decided on a favorite, because each dress had a story or meaning behind it, she is very proud of the “butterfly” dress, designed by Andrew MacLaine. Ashley says “The theme of the show this year -- The Power of Fashion -- I feel that you should use fashion to make powerful statements. And the fact that I was able to use the platform of our fashion show to make a powerful statement about mental health is something I’m really proud of.”
She also talked about being a lifelong She-Ra fan and to be wearing a transforming She-Ra gown at the top of the show made her feel powerful.
The sequins Batman gown, also designed by Andrew MacLaine made Ashley look like a classic Hollywood movie star as she came down the runway. Here’s what you didn’t know about that dress… it was a last minute addition. The idea was born during a brainstorm at a business lunch with DC, as Ashley worked with them on the Comic Con museum. It was only 2 weeks before Comic Con when they decided to create a Batman dress. MacLaine knew of Ashley’s measurements and the concept of the dress and he created the dress in just one day. “And I never even tried it on.”, Ashley says, “The first time I tried it on was when I went to the [Comic-Con] museum and there was no time for a fitting. I think the fact that I felt comfortable in it really is a true mark of talent of Andrew MacLaine and how he’s able to do that.”
Another dress MacLaine designed, was Ashley’s final dress. I’ve started to call it “The Butterfly Dress” which pays tribute to the On Our Sleeves movement created by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, aimed to raise awareness on children’s mental health. Butterfly is the main icon of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and MacLaine’s design perfect captures its meaning.
Ashley is the dedicated ambassador for the On Our Sleeves movement. She’s extremely passionate about the movement and uses her voice and platform to bring awareness to the issue. “I’ve partnered with the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and their campaign On Our Sleeves. It’s because for the most part especially kids and teens we don’t wear our emotions on our sleeves and sometimes it hard to put into words how you’re feeling. And so sometimes it’s easier to draw it, which is where the symbols came from. So you can show someone through a symbol on how you’re feeling sometimes easier than how you can say it. And it’s an amazing campaign, really encouraging people to wear their emotions on their sleeves and to talk about it.” She’s designed t-shirts to spread the word about the importance of mental healthy, which was sold exclusively at Comic Con. All proceeds from the sale will go to to support the campaign. Want to show your support for the On Our Sleeves movement? Don’t worry, the shirts will be online at Her Universe soon!
On Designing Her Own Star Wars Theme Minnie Ears
Ashley’s been a lifelong Disney fan and have donned many pairs of Minnie Ears during her visits to the park. I asked how does it feels to not only be designing her own Star Wars theme ears, but soon she’ll be seeing many park goers wearing those ears. “It’s surreal. And I don’t even think it’s sunk in yet.” When she received the email asking if she would design official Minnie ears for Disney, she spent the entire weekend designing and sketching. The next thing she knew, she was designing her own Star Wars themed ears.
As the voice of Ahsoka Tano, many may have expect a pair of Ahsoka Tano ears. But Ashley has a high regard for Princess Leia and Carrie Fisher, and wanted to honor the original self-rescuing princess - Princess Leia - first, “But who’s to say we’re not going to get Ahsoka Tano ears?” teased Ashley. If you’re a fan of Ahsoka, stay tuned!
The Princess Leia themed ears are a limited edition. The bow is white, just like Leia’s dress, with some added sparkle to present the stars and the galaxy. The ears are made with a velvet-like material to resemble Leia’s classic buns. It turns out, it’s quite difficult to replicate human hair as Minnie Ears “Yes, of course the joke is they do kind of look like cinnamon buns.” Ashley laughs. Cinnamon buns or not, these Leia ears are simply adorable. If you look closely at the center of the bow, it is in the shape of the silver hardware from Leia’s belt.
The headband is made of a pleather material and says “Her Universe” down the side. There’s also a hidden inspirational message on the inside that reads “Hope” with the rebel symbol.
If you’re headed to D23 Expo, you can grab yourself a pair of the Leia ears at the Disney DreamStore. They’ll also be available on October 4th in both Disney Parks and on ShopDisney.com.
I got to see these Leia ears at D23 and they look even better in person! The material is plushy and soft, the rhinestones on the bow stands out a lot more than the photos show. I saw a lot of people wearing these ears throughout the Expo and even at Disneyland afterwards!
What’s Next For Ashley?
Currently she’s working on a lot of projects for 2020. including projects in publishing, design, new Her Universe products, and more! She will be at the D23 Expo from August 23rd through August 25th.
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