Presented by Her Universe and Hot Topic, The Her Universe Fashion Show returned to in-person programming during San Diego Comic-Con International (SDCC) with a standing room only crowd of more than 2,000 cheering fans celebrating the theme of “Coming Home.” Led by host by actress, entrepreneur, and best-selling author Ashley Eckstein (voice of Star Wars’ Ahsoka Tano) as well as special guest co-host, drag icon Nina West, the evening was a colorful return of the critically-acclaimed event known for highlighting inclusivity and empowerment for all. This year’s 8th annual event brought together an all-new group of 26 aspiring designers who presented their original geek couture designs on the runway.
Photo by Mark Edwards, courtesy of HUFSThis year’s show opened with sensational Wizard of Oz inspired looks with Eckstein dazzling in a deconstructed couture Dorothy look designed by 2014 Her Universe Fashion Show Winner Andrew MacLaine. West shimmered as Glinda in a custom bubbly pink gown by Johnny Wujek and John Thomas. The hosting duo led a special dedication for former contestant Miranda Starr Tuttle, who passed away exactly three years prior, lighting a star lantern above the runway to shine the way for all of the 2022 designers.
This year’s judging panel included the 2021 winning designers Teighlor Johnson, Skyler Barrett, and Vivien Lee as well as industry experts Elena Vrska and Mallory Leveille. The 2021 designer panelists made their special runway debut after winning virtually with their couture designs last year.
Other highlights from the show featured runway reveals of brand-new fashion lines inspired by Outlander, Marvel, and Star Wars including a very special Ahsoka Tano themed denim jacket coming soon. Her Universe and Hot Topic also revealed a global Studio Ghibli Harajuku Collective Collection arriving in Japan August 10th.
In an ultimate display of friendship, Eckstein and West changed into sparkling pink and blue dresses throwing it back to iconic film Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, complete with dance moves enjoyed by all. Additionally, fans were delighted by a surprise guest appearance from the official voice of Mickey Mouse, Bret Iwan. Special gifting for all attendees this evening were provided by Lug, the popular lifestyle brand of travel bags and accessories which included conversation cards to shine a light on the importance of mental health.
The hosting duo rounded out the evening in Captain Marvel themed evening wear welcoming the audience to have their own special moments walking the runway. Hair and make-up for Eckstein was provided by Veronica Nunez and by Kalyd Odeh for West. They also surprised the 26 competing designers by announcing the winners would have opportunity to design a fashion collection with Her Universe for leading pop-culture retailer Hot Topic for Marvel Universe’s The Marvels.