SDCC: HerUniverse Fashion Show Celebrates Disney, Fans and the Strike

“I have been on the phone with [SAG-AFTRA], I have been writing emails, they have been wonderful,” HerUniverse founder Ashley Eckstein tells TheWrap


At a San Diego Comic-Con in which nearly everything looks a bit different this year thanks to Hollywood’s first double strike in more than half a century, one pillar did remain: the HerUniverse fashion show. And that’s because HerUniverse founder Ashley Eckstein made sure SAG was entirely on board with it.

This year marked the 9th outing for the fashion show at SDCC, which brings fans a new line of “geek couture” every year. And while the clothing items are indeed inspired by some currently-struck work, the event itself didn’t violate any of SAG’s guidelines. Eckstein made certain of it.

“I have been on the phone with them, I have been writing emails, they have been wonderful,” Eckstein told TheWrap ahead of the show. “They were so supportive of us doing this show. You know, we just wanted to do everything right. We wanted to support everyone.”

Eckstein herself, along with this year’s co-host Michael James Scott — currently starring as the Genie in Broadway’s “Aladdin” — are both proud members of SAG and noted that Eckstein and her team were fairly certain they were complying with rules, but checked in anyway.

“They were so supportive, they’re like, ‘Absolutely,’” she said. “And they were like ‘You go do that show!’ And they were just thrilled for me. So I’m just so thankful.”

“We’re proud SAG-AFTRA members and we’re so hopeful and that SAG-AFTRA and the WGA will get a fair and good agreement,” Scott added.


In a pre-recorded video message to kick off the show, Eckstein also informed the audience that the show was SAG-compliant and approved, earning a massive cheer from the fans. She even dedicated the entire show to SAG and the WGA, and those striking.

And, in the end, the HerUniverse fashion show — this year celebrating 100 years of Disney — ended up being one of the few staples that remained at SDCC, and was perhaps more popular than ever as a result. Scott pointed out to TheWrap that the event was at capacity several hours before it even started.

Of course, this fashion show has been a fan-favorite from the jump. Andrea Lewis, the VP of Marketing for Hot Topic (HerUniverse is a stand-alone subsidiary of the brand) considers it a “point of pride.”

“We have been standing room only since year one, which has been phenomenal for us,” she told TheWrap. “And the support that San Diego Comic-Con has given this event every year — we have become the official Thursday night kickoff of San Diego Comic-Con and that is such a point of pride for every single one of us that work so hard on the show. It’s really meaningful for us.”

What is it then, that’s made HerUniverse such a go-to for SDCC? Eckstein says it’s more than just cool clothes themselves.

“All I ever wanted to say was that these stories, this world that we love so much, is for everyone,” she said. “And I just wanted to shine the spotlight and create a positive, safe, inclusive community. And I think you hear this electricity here because fans know that this is an empowering, uplifting, safe celebrated place. We have everyone up on that runway.”


Indeed, the models included drag queens, models with disabilities, and all body types.

“Whoever you are, however you identify, this is a safe show for you,” Eckstein added. “And you’re celebrated and the entire audience knows that they’re celebrated — it’s just kind of like one big love fest is what it is.”