By Aaron Sagers
After launching with a special Hot Topic collection for women last year on the fan holiday, Her Universe will unveil six new items that will become available on May 4. These products, created by founder Ashley Eckstein – who just so happens to be the voice of Ahsoka Tano on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” and is an MTV Geek contributor – will feature tees, tanks and even tank dresses, a first for the Her Universe “Star Wars” line.
“Last year was really exciting because it was the first year we launched with Hot Topic in a special ‘Star Wars’ collection for girls,” said Eckstein. “It really caught a lot of people by surprise that a major retailer is celebrating this day.”
So, for Episode II of the Her Universe/Hot Topic "Star Wars Day," the first 500 customers who purchase an item from the Her Universe line will receive a special "Star Wars" cinch sack from the company. And to follow-up on the popularity of last year’s “Day of the Dead” Darth Vader design, artist Denise Vasquez has returned to give the treatment to Boba Fett for a tank top.
“Denise had such success with Darth Vader so I said, ‘let’s throw out a bunch of characters,’” said Eckstein. “But once we started coming up with ideas for Boba Fett, it was a no-brainer; of course, there’s a lot of Boba Fett loving fangirls out there.”
Eckstein said there will “certainly” be future Day of the Dead shirts from Vasquez. In addition to the revisiting the popular theme, Her Universe is making towards fashion with nerd couture items.
“Her Universe is fashion forward this year,” she said. “We have this tank dress style, but there’s also an A-line dress style we’re working on, and we’re working on skirts, leggings and venturing more into the fashion items this year.”
While her company won’t be giving up T-shirts, Eckstein added they are responding to an audience that has been asking for this variety for a long time. New tees -- like the one with Roger Kastel’s “Gone With The Wind”-inspired “The Empire Strikes Back” poster or another with a black-and-white image of Han Solo – arrive alongside a pair of sleek “Star Wars” dresses.
These new Hot Topic items by Her Universe include a Japanese “Episode IV” poster tank dress, which features Tom Chantrell’s classic artwork accompanied by kinetic Japanese characters. There is also a Japanese Stormtrooper tank dress with art from a Japanese tea towel. Iconic images of the Death Star, TIE Fighters and troopers are joined with vertical Japanese characters. Regarding this particular dress, Eckstein said the tea towels were only sold in Japan, and knew she had to have the licensing rights to them as soon as they became available in the U.S.
As far as her other role within the “Star Wars” universe, that of an actor not entrepreneur, Eckstein is currently enjoying the recognition for “The Clone Wars” from The National Academy of Television Arts & Science. The Cartoon Network show was nominated for seven Daytime Emmys this week; the first time the series has ever been nominated. Though the show was canceled as a result of the Disney takeover of “Star Wars,” the fifth and final season wrapped with a particularly strong storyline for Eckstein’s padawan character Ahsoka.
Although most people expected her to die, because she doesn’t appear in “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” Anakin Skywalker’s young apprentice instead exits in another way.
“For so long, everyone said Ahsoka’s not in ‘Episode III,’ so she has to die, but I never thought that,” said Eckstein. “I’m excited if we’re going to go out on that note in ‘Clone Wars’ that she doesn’t have to die.”
“If” might be the operative word. Supervising director of “Clone Wars” Dave Filoni is overseeing completion of story arcs that were already headed into production, but where those might appear remains a mystery. However, Eckstein did reveal that she has a new Her Universe shirt on the way with the tagline “Ahsoka Lives.”
“I would love to see where Ahsoka is, and get more of her storyline, and I’m hopeful that eventually one day we will.”
In the meantime, Eckstein is keeping busy with the Her Universe “Year of the Fangirl” on her website, where she profiles a different female nerd every day. And she will be at Walt Disney World’s “Star Wars Weekends” where she’ll hosting a behind-the-scenes show on “Star Wars” voiceovers. But Eckstein said she is also excited to unveil new designs for her other licenses such as “Doctor Who” – appearing on A-line dresses, tank dress, three new pairs of leggings and 50th anniversary tees and tops – as well as excited to announce big news very soon.
Of course, the force is very strong with her on the fourth. Eckstein said she views Star Wars Day as kind of a big deal.
“This is truly a fan holiday that fans adopted for their own as a grassroots thing, and Lucasfilm took notice,” she said. “And what’s so special about ‘Star Wars’: It’s for all ages, and it brings families together.”
As for her plans on May the 4th?
“Because it’s on a Saturday, I’ll be getting together with my family and nieces and nephews; they love ‘Star Wars,’ and I’ll be with them most of the day so I’m sure there’s going to be lots of ‘Star Wars’ talk going on.”
In celebration of "May the 4th Be with You," Her Universe will also be offering 20% off of all current Star Wars apparel on www.HerUniverse.com on May 4th.
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