Her Universe fashion show celebrates geek garb at Comic-Con 2018

Sew impressive! Other surprises at Ashley Eckstein's Her Universe Fashion Show include a 40-pound couture dress made of 500 Jack Skellington heads.

Tania González
3 min read

Jodie Whittaker jokes with Ashley Eckstein after working the catwalk at the Comic-Con Her Universe Fashion Show.

Tania González/CNET

Funko Pop couture could be a new trend. 

Ashley Eckstein, founder of the Her Universe Fashion Show that's become a staple of San Diego International Comic-Con, has joined with designer Andrew MacLaine to push boundaries once more and create a couture gown inspired by Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas

This time around, the theme of "milestones" drove the popular show, where designers compete to have their geeky fashion made into a collection. Fitting, with the different anniversaries celebrated at this year's SDCC, including the 25th anniversary of Nightmare Before Christmas, 20 years of Powerpuff Girls, 10 years of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the fifth edition of Her Universe Fashion Show, a celebration of fashion and fandom that started in 2013. 

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It was a night of surprises that kicked off with the introduction of the Funko Pop gown made with around 500 Jack Skellington's heads, weighing 40 pounds. It took MacLaine three weeks to create, but he confessed the most challenging part was conceptualizing the dress, which was an absolute hit with the crowd. 

"After Lego, I thought, what's like the next thing that fans love just as much as Lego, and it's Funko Pops," Eckstein said.

We had to talk about another important milestone that inspired Eckstein to start this fashion show: The Clone Wars. "Clone Wars changed my life, and so to have this opportunity to go back to it and finish what we were supposed to do is just a dream come true," said Eckstein, who voices Ahsoka Tano. "The impossible has become possible."  

After Thursday morning's announcement that the the show will return, Eckstein welcomed the opportunity to give life once again to the legendary Ahsoka Tano, and invited Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker) and Dee Bradley Baker (Clone Trooper) to join her on stage to talk about what it means to them to be back on the popular animated series.

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"Us as fans and also as performers on the show, getting back together and doing a dance, it's incredible," said Lanter, while Baker shared that it was his Hollywood wish come true.

Now it was the 24 finalists' turn to show off their designs. They showed off incredible creations inspired by their favorite fandoms, ranging from Aliens, the Space Mountain ride at Disneyland to yes, even some Godzilla couture. The designers used transformation elements, LED lights and complex techniques like garment construction, dyeing, draping and more. 

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But the surprises kept coming. The fashion show was briefly interrupted to amaze attendees with Jodie Whittaker, the first female actress to be cast as The Doctor in the BBC show  Doctor Who . She walked the runway wearing aDoctor Who Her Universe inspired outfit. "You don't dress like a boy or a girl, you're dressed like The Doctor," Whittaker said of the designs that offer gender neutrality.

We finally got to meet the three winners of the 2018 Her Universe Fashion Show: Cynthia Kirkland for The Couture of Water (inspired by The Shape of Water) was the judges' winner; Jane Burson for Howl-In' For You (Howl's Moving Castle) became the Singer sewing winner and the audience picked Kristi Siedow-Thompson for PWL Chic: Ripley in the Powerloader (Aliens).

The winners will start work tomorrow designing a collection for spring 2019, inspired by Marvel's Avengers 4.

First published, Jan. 19, 7:35 p.m. PT. 
Update, Jan. 21 at 12:55 p.m. PT: Adds photo gallery, comments from Eckstein. 

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